More than 20 adorable fox cubs being cared for at Somerset rescue centre

  • Watch the tiny cubs grow up.

A Somerset animal rescue centre is caring for more than 20 fox cubs who have been separated from their mothers.

Secret World Wildlife Rescue in Highbridge takes in sick, injured and orphaned wildlife from across the West Country.

Founder Pauline Kidner said the centre was currently caring for 26 fox cubs and that eight others had been returned to their mothers.

Baby foxes are born with their eyes closed Credit: Secret World

That might sound like a lot, but Pauline said that it was common for around 20 cubs to enter the rescue each year.

She explained that their dens are sometimes disturbed by development or garden clearance.

"Some come in where the mother has been found dead, wandering on the road or turning up in people's gardens and we are unable to locate where they have come from," she said.

Foxes grow very quickly and can start taking solid foods at three weeks old Credit: Secret World

Fox cubs are usually born between January and April every year, so those living at Secret World range from 16 to 18 weeks old.

Their eyes are closed for the first 10 days and so they have to be bottle-fed by the staff and volunteers. When they are that small, they need to be fed every three hours to stay alive.

However, they don't stay that tiny for long, and at three weeks old they can start eating solid foods and by five weeks, they are able to fight each other for scraps.

The cubs can become tame very easily, so it is important for them to be mixed into groups once they are weaned Credit: Secret World

Pauline explained: "Fox cubs can become tame very easily which is why it is important for them to be mixed into groups once they are weaned.

"We reduce their human contact because they have to be wild to be released.

"People think they will make good pets as they are very pretty when young.

"But in the house, they start to smell, urinate to show territory, run up curtains and wallpaper like cats and they always like to defecate high – like on the dining room table."

Once they have finished their vaccinations and been weaned, the cubs will move outdoors - like last year's bunch, pictured here Credit: Secret World

Once the cubs have finished receiving their vaccinations and been weaned, they will move outside to the grass enclosures at Secret World.

They will stay there until September, the natural time for dispersal, when they can be released back into the wild.

"They will be taken to release sites and put in an enclosure for a couple of weeks to get used to their surroundings and then released from there.

"Food will always be available until they stop coming back meaning they have been able to find enough food for themselves," Pauline said.