October 17, 2018

Man who rescued tiny puppies soon realized that they weren't puppies at all

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Craig Mcgettrick and a co-worker were picking up trash from a garden in England when they stumbled upon an old mattress in which they found five newborn puppies, that were not puppies in the end.

After lifting the mattress, Mcgettrick found what he thought were five puppies or kittens. “Those were probably the only two options I knew of," Mcgettrick told The Dodo. "We thought someone had dumped them knowing we were going to remove rubbish."


Trying to save their lives, the man put the babies in a cardboard box and took them to the nearest animal rescue center, but not without taking pictures and posting them on Facebook first. Soon after, the images started to spread around social media, and an eagle-eyed animal lover noticed there was something weird with the “puppies.”


To confirm her suspicions, the lady contacted Martin Hemmington, founder of the National Fox Welfare Society.

"We were contacted by a lovely lady called Beccie through our Facebook Page; Beccie had sent a few photos asking if the babies in the photos were indeed fox cubs," Hemmington wrote in a Facebook post.


"We confirmed they certainly were. Beccie advised us that they had been taken to a rescue center in Liverpool mistakenly as puppies, not fox cubs."


Hemmington explained that fox cubs don’t look like foxes when they’re babies. Instead of the reddish color, the animals have once they grow up, they are born with brown hair, so people can easily mistake them for puppies.

The mother fox was probably using the mattress as her den, and she left the babies alone while looking for food. “As the [babies] get older they'll begin to explore their surroundings more and more, and become less dependent on mum as they get older," explained Paul McDonald, a local rescuer with Freshfields Animal Rescue.



Hemmington got in touch with McDonald and asked him to pick up the fox cubs from the rescue center. The wasn’t in the are, but he sent a volunteer for the babies and had them delivered to him. Once the cubs were in his care, McDonald did the best he could to help them.

He returned them to the makeshift den without feeding them. In that way, the babies would cry in hunger for their mom and the vixen would be able to find her babies.


“I put them around the same place they were found, as I knew the mum would be looking for them, and she'd be checking the place she last had them,” he explained.

He placed the cardboard box with the cubs back in the garden and added a hot water bottle to keep them warm. An hour later, the mother fox made her appearance. She only took a cub and went away for an hour.


“I believe once she'd picked the first one up and knew the others were safe in the box, she waited until it got dark to get the rest as she must not have felt safe moving the cubs in daylight."

Three hours later, she had already taken all of her babies to a safe place.


Hemmington recalled the whole experience on the Facebook post, explaining that McDonald sent him a photo with the empty box soon after the vixen had taken all of her babies. He added:

“I was letting Beccie and Craig know, and everyone was so pleased that the cubs were back where they belonged ... with mum!”



Is not the first time, and probably won’t be the last, that fox cubs are mistaken by puppies.


Another similar case happened in Colorado, where some firefighters rescued what they thought were puppies from a storm drain. They discovered eight black, tiny puppies, but their mom was nowhere to be found.

The men took the puppies to The Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, where a veterinary determined they were not puppies, they were red fox kits cubs.


Travis Sauder, a manager at Colorado Parks and Wildlife District Wildlife, made sure the cubs were put back where they belonged hoping to get them reunited with their mother. He told CBS:

“These animals are going to be put back where we found them hoping that the mother is still in the area and can pick up the normal duties as she would. If the mom’s not around anymore, we can take them to a licensed rehab.”

People who find foxes or any other kind of wild baby animal are encouraged to contact animal services or any other foundation with professionals that can take proper care of them.