Fox cubs found covered in oil rescued by RSPCA after falling into deep concrete pits

The four cubs were rescued over a three day period. Credit: RSPCA

A group of fox cubs have been rescued after falling into deep concrete pits at a construction site.

Workers found the cubs covered in oil at the bottom of the 19.6 feet deep - or double-decker bus size - holes and immediately called the RSPCA to help.

The rescue mission began on 29 April, with the first cub being rescued at the construction site in Cannock in Staffordshire.

The following day, another was saved and a further two on 1 May.

Despite the steep drop, the cubs who are believed to be from the same litter, had escaped serious injury, sadly their mum is thought to have died.

RSPCA Animal Rescue Officer Sophie Taylor. Credit: RSCPA

The cubs are now being cared for by a specialist team at the charity’s Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre in Nantwich and are expected to make a full recovery.

Sophie Taylor, RSPCA Animal Rescue Officer, was called to the site to assist with the rescue on 29 and 30 April and used a ladder to climb down and rescue two female cubs.

She 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.”

Two of the cubs were more heavily oiled than the first that were rescued and had also picked up bits of tar. Credit: RSPCA

Sophie’s colleague Tom Hall, an animal rescue officer, was called back to the site again on 1 May after a further two cubs - a male and a female - were discovered in separate pits.

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

Lee Stewart, Manager at Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre where the foxes are all being treated, 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.

“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."

The wildlife centre are supporting the cubs for a few weeks before they are ‘soft’ released. Credit: RSPCA

The wildlife centre said they will find the cubs a safe place where they can be ‘soft’ released and supported for a few weeks and during this time they will be independent.

They will then allow them to venture off after a week or so to find a place and establish their own territory.

The RSPCA has thanked the workers at the site for the concern and compassion they showed in ringing the charity and re-checking the site.

The construction site are going to try and close entry ways, and have been advised to keep an eye out for any further cubs and a possible mum, although a thorough search of the immediate area was carried out and no further foxes were found.