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Found an injured fox

Foxes are one of the most common mammals we treat at our wildlife centres. If you find a sick or injured fox, then don't try to handle it yourself - keep a safe distance. If the fox hasn't moved and you're unsure if it's asleep or dead, then try approaching it slowly and carefully with a long-handled broom. Gently touch it with the end of the handle to see if it moves.

Contact your local wildlife rehabilitator or nearest wildlife centre for advice about the best way to help the fox.

The danger of netting

Netting in gardens can be a real danger to foxes, particularly cubs if they become entangled.

We receive hundreds of calls every year to rescue animals that have become trapped in sports nets or netting in gardens.

Here's how you can help reduce foxes becoming entrapped:

  • Remove sports netting when not in use
  • Don't leave netting up overnight
  • Replace fruit or vegetable netting with metal mesh
  • Use wood panels instead of nets for fencing
Fox caught in goal netting

Foxes and mange

Sarcoptic mange is a disease caused by mites irritating the skin. This condition is very common in foxes in the UK and has caused big declines in their populations. Foxes pick up the mite through direct contact with another infected fox. It's rare for mange to be passed to dogs or other pets. For some foxes, the infection is mild and they recover easily. For others, the symptoms are more severe and it can be fatal in some cases.

Symptoms of fox mange

  • Foxes become less timid of humans and more active during the middle of the day, especially in cold weather
  • Thin appearance
  • Wounds around their tail - the infection usually starts around the tail and moves up the body towards their head
  • Continual scratching
  • Holding one leg off the ground or moving very slowly
  • Bare skin looks like dry, cracked earth

Helping a fox with mange

Treating wild foxes with mange is difficult and only possible to treat if they can be rescued.

If you've seen a fox with severe mange and it doesn't run away when you approach it (keep a safe 2 metres away), contact your local wildlife rehabilitator. It may be possible to catch the fox and take them for treatment. Mange can only be confirmed by a vet looking at a skin sample under a microscope.

A vet needs to prescribe drugs to treat mange and give to individual foxes in controlled doses. It's not safe to put medication in food that's left out for foxes in the wild as you can't control how much drug is consumed. The medication could be harmful to other animals that might eat the food. Although treatments for mange can help relieve the symptoms of the infection, they can't prevent foxes from catching mange again in the future.

As foxes are wary of people it's difficult to capture foxes until they become very ill. The process of rescue and rehabilitation at a wildlife centre will be stressful for them. For foxes with mild infections, it's best to leave them to recover in the wild as they should still be able to move around and find food. You can help by providing small amounts of healthy food, which will help foxes fight the infection. Try offering canned dog or cat food, mince, dog biscuits, fruit or nuts as well as fresh water.

Foxes moult in summer

If you've seen a fox that looks thin or is losing fur, it might not have mange. Foxes moult their coats each summer. It's normal for them to look scruffy when this happens, particularly if they've been raising cubs. When foxes moult, you'll be able to see their new fur already growing underneath.

Fox showing signs of mange

Fox advice


One of Britain's most popular mammals, foxes are a common sight in both countryside and urban areas.