Animal carers at Secret World Wildlife Rescue near Burnham-On-Sea have their hands full this week with 25 fox cubs to look after.
The charity, based in East Huntspill, has been inundated with sick and orphaned fox cubs over the past two weeks, including a cub that had been taken to a cat rescue centre by mistake.
As our urban-dwelling wild animals like foxes have become used to living alongside humans, it seems people are becoming ever more aware of the wildlife living around them.
This can be great when they’re in need of our help, but we also need to know when to leave them alone for their own safety.
Five of the cubs were found under a shed in Bristol two weeks ago when the homeowner was doing some garden renovations. Unfortunately as the cubs were disturbed, the mother did not return to them, so Secret World decided it was time to step in and rescue the little foxes.
“We’d much rather have seen the fox cubs reunited with their mother,” says Leigh Thomas, Wildlife Hospital Section Leader at Secret World.
“And a rescue can often be avoided. If you disturb a group of fox cubs, usually the best thing to do is to clear the area of people and leave the cubs alone for a couple of hours to give the mother a chance to move them to a safer place. This recommendation can vary according to weather conditions and age of the cubs however, so we suggest that you always seek advice from a wildlife rescue centre to find out the best course of action.”
The five cubs are now about four weeks old and they’re doing really well. Animal carers Debbie O’Keefe and Judith Andrews have been hand rearing them, first bottle feeding them with puppy milk and now a mixture of solid puppy food and milk which will help them make the transition to a solid food diet.
“The puppy food is really important and we need loads of it at the moment with all these hungry fox cubs to feed!” says Leigh.
“If people can donate any to us that would be brilliant. It’s easy to do through our wishlist on the Amazon website or by sending a donation so we can purchase the food.”
The foxes will be released back into the wild towards the end of the summer when they are strong enough to thrive on their own. Until then, they will gradually become more independent by reducing the contact they have with humans, and moving them into larger outdoor pens.