East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS) were called to rescue a fox cub running around Eastbourne with its head stuck in a plastic tub.
The animal rescue service received a call at 7.45pm on Tuesday, May 26 after concerned residents in Woodgate Road, Eastbourne, spotted the young fox, thought to be around seven weeks old, in a spot of bother.
Senior Rescuer Chris Riddington, from Eastbourne, was the first on the scene to assess the situation and was shown a video of the fox cub taken by the residents. He also managed to see the fox but was unable to catch it on his own.
“It looked like the cub had its head in a glass jar, but was difficult to tell exactly what it was. He was running around between the bushes slightly disorientated on some waste ground,” said Chris.
Two additional ambulances were sent to the scene. WRAS founder Trevor Weeks MBE and his partner Kathy Martyn from Uckfield, as well as on-call rescuers Rose Benians and Ollie Long from WRAS’s Casualty Centre at Whitesmith, drove down to the site to assist.
During the remaining daylight, rescuers checked through the bushes but this became harder as the light faded. A vixen and two cubs were discovered hiding in some bushes, but not the cub which rescuers were after.
“We didn’t want to give up, as we were worried the cub might develop breathing problems and was probably already becoming dehydrated and hungry too. We knew the longer we left the fox, the worse condition the cub would be in. There was a chance the fox could be dead by the morning,” said Kathy.
Rescuers spread out across the waste land and stood and listened for movement. After about 15 minutes, there was movement in the bushes. Ollie and Chris approached from one side and Trevor from the other.
“Ollie and I used torches to help pin-point the cub, and with Trevor in darkness, the cub couldn’t see him and luckily run straight towards him, where he was then able to put a net over the top to catch him,” explained Chris.
The cub was bundled into a carrier and taken back to WRAS’s veterinary ambulance to have the plastic container removed. A hole was cut at the end to help with the breathing straight away, but then bandage scissors were used to cut the tub.
“The top of the tub where a lid would screw on was quite thick plastic and difficult to cut, so had to use dressing scissors to cut the plastic. We had to be careful that we didn’t injure the cub whilst cutting too, said Trevor.
“I then assessed the cubs neck for pressure necrosis and swelling and to look for other injuries, signs of infection as well as fly eggs and maggots. The cub’s head certainly didn’t smell nice!”
One of WRAS’s vets, Mike Symons, was contacted and checked the cub over at WRAS’s Casualty Centre, where it was given anti-inflammatories, and anti-biotics, then bedded down for the night to recuperate.
“Luckily the wounds were not too serious and we hope that he will be a quick turn-around and back to mum.” Said Trevor.
The fox cub is now at WRAS’s Casualty Care Centre and being treated.