Handling Wildlife – Red Fox
April 19th, 2015
REMEMBER you are responsible for your own safety and that of others. Even in following these guidelines you are at risk of harm and should enlist the help of a trained professional. Knoxwood will not be held responsible for any injures to yourself, others or property.
Please remember – you must never handle any wild bird or animal unless you are certain it needs help, and your sole intention is to provide that help.
Normally, the only reason you will have to come into close contact with a fox is if you find an orphan, or a road casualty. Please see our separate article on orphan foxes.
Road injuries in adult foxes: You shoud call your vet or local sanctuary and have them rescue the fox.
Failing this, you will need a clear plan on how to proceed:
Find somewhere (sanctuary, vet, rehabilitation centre, RSPCA) for the fox to go before you attempt a rescue, otherwise you may spend hours driving around with a fox in your boot.
Check how responsive the fox is BEFORE you touch him. Use a wooden stick, one from the hedge will do, it should be at LEAST 2 feet long, (nothing made of metal such as a brolly or tire iron) and stand well back before you GENTLY stroke the fox all over with it, starting behind the head, and avoiding any obvious injuries and the eyes. The fox will either begin growling and snap at the stick (this is why the stick should be wood, he will not damage his teeth on it) or remain unresponsive.
If the fox responds you will need to get him some sedation – you must call the vet.
If he does not respond, you must still take care, he may be unconscious and come round unexpectedly.
To move an unresponsive fox you will need 2 responsible adults, a vehicle and a large blanket.
Open you car boot / back of a van FIRST
Place the blanket edge along the foxes back, one person on each corner, pull the blanket tight and use a sawing motion work the blanket under the fox until you have him in a blanket ‘hammock’ Keep your hands and face as far from the fox as possible.
Keep the blanket tight and lift him into the vehicle, cover him with the blanket edges but do not restrict his breathing by putting the blanket over his nose.
Tuck him around with more blanket / coats, whatever you have to stop him rolling around, but keep yourself clear from his face.
Do not put him on a car seat, in the front, on someones knee or in a footwell, there will be an accident if he wakes up.
Take him directly to the pre arranged facility and allow the staff there to unload him.
If you are stopped by the police with a fox in your car, you must explain why he is there or there will be serious questions raised, this is why you must have somewhere reputable (vet/sanctuary/rehabilitator) pre-arranged before transport.