Fox cubs covered in oil treated at Stapeley Grange

Staff at the RSPCA wildlife centre in Nantwich are caring for four fox cubs who all survived serious injury after falling into deep concrete pits.

The first cub was rescued from the construction site in Cannock on April 29, followed by another one the following day and a further two on May 1.

On each occasion, workers called the RSPCA after finding the cubs at the bottom of a double-decker sized six-metre pits covered in oil.

All of them were rescued by the charity and, despite the steep drop, had escaped serious injury.

Deep pit where fox cubs were found
Deep pit where fox cubs were found

They are believed to be from the same litter, although their mum is thought to have died.

They are now being cared for by a specialist team at the charity’s Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre on London Road and are expected to make a full recovery.

RSPCA animal rescue officer Sophie Taylor said: “It was a steep descent and I was amazed, but relieved to find they hadn’t broken any bones.

“The pits were huge and they were difficult to spot at first, but they were well and truly stranded down there, there was absolutely no way out for them.

“Like so many of us who want the best for animals, the staff were really concerned for their well being and they did the right thing by calling us, rather than attempting to handle the cubs themselves, who by that stage would have been frightened and stressed.”

Sophie’s colleague Tom Hall was then called back to the site again on May 1 after a further two cubs – a male and a female – were discovered in separate pits.

These two were more heavily oiled than the first and had also picked up bits of tar.

Lee Stewart, manager at Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre, said: “They were covered in oil when they arrived and their coats were greasy and smelt strongly of chemicals.

“Our vet was concerned they might have ingested the oil, so they were given oral charcoal treatment to help counteract that.

“We also carefully checked for any signs of burning to the skin before washing them with warm water and washing up liquid, and flushing their eyes and applying lubricant.

RSPCA with rescued fox cubs

“They were all a little on the thin side, but not emaciated, although sadly we think their mum has probably perished.

“They’ll be carefully monitored by our wildlife team and will be with us for about six months. They’ll be joined over time by other fox cubs, most of whom will also have been orphaned.

“We’ll then find them a safe place initially where they can be ‘soft’ released and supported for a few weeks, during which time they will be independent.

“Then they’ll venture off after a week or so to find a place and establish their own territory.”

For advice and information on what to do if you see a wild animal in distress, visit the RSPCA website.

Fox cubs covered in oil at Stapeley Grange

Fox cub at Stapeley Grange

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