We are going to kick off this blog series on helping wildlife by focusing on fox cubs. Most wildlife rescue centres have started receiving their first orphan fox cubs and have also received a call about some!
Many Vixens (female fox) start to mate around January to March and they give birth to fox cubs after 53 days. Fox cubs are born with a chocolate coloured coat with a white tail tip and are sometimes mistaken for puppies or kittens. Around April, their coat will now be more orange in colour and the cubs will start to emerge from their den. Young cubs will start to learn through play and will often be seen out and about in gardens. Foxes can often build a den under sheds or decking, which we may not like. However, they should abandon this den in June when the cubs are old enough. In September, the cubs will look similar to their parents and the family will start to disperse in October.
So how can we help?
· If you notice a fox going under your shed or decking, please do not fill in the hole. This could trap the foxes and cubs.
· If you are having work done in your garden and discover fox cubs, then stop and monitor from afar and contact Wildlife Aid Foundation for further advice. Hopefully, the mother will come back and move the cubs elsewhere.
· If you notice a fox cub (that is brown in colour) on your grass, the best thing to do is observe first. The mother may have been spooked whilst moving the cub and will come back. If the mother does not return after an hour, then call Wildlife Aid Foundation for further advice.
· If you feel a fox cub is in immediate danger, remember your own personal health and safety. Always wear gloves and use a towel to handle them. It is not advised to try and handle an adult fox, please always call Wildlife Aid Foundation.
· The best place for fox cubs to be is with their parents and siblings. So, please do not pick them up with bare hands and intervene, without speaking to Wildlife Aid Foundation.
· If you see an adult fox on the road or pavement, which looks like it has been hit by a car. Wildlife Aid Foundation advise checking for signs of life and lactation (if female). This is because there could be cubs that have been abandoned as a result of the road traffic accident. If you find a lactating female, please contact Wildlife Aid Foundation. *Please only check if it is safe and legal to do so.
Did you know Wildlife Aid Foundation has a frequently asked question section on their website?
Check out the fox section here - https://www.wildlifeaid.org.uk/faqs/foxes/
and the injured orphaned animal section - https://www.wildlifeaid.org.uk/faqs/find-injured-orphaned-animal/
If you have foxes and fox cubs visiting your garden, try to live in harmony with them and enjoy their presence. That's what our vet nurse, Emma, did last year (Photos from fox and fox cubs in her garden).
As veterinary professionals, we have a duty to provide first aid and pain relief to all species, including wild animals. Therefore, if you are concerned about an injured wild animal, we
may be able to help. However, we do not have the facilities to care for them long term and would need to transfer them to a suitable wildlife facility.
In spring and summer, many young animals are picked up when they do not need to be. Our next post will focus on baby birds!
Our closest wildlife rescue and hospital is Wildlife Aid Foundation in Leatherhead.
24hr helpline: 01372 360404
Visit their website for more information: https://www.wildlifeaid.org.uk/