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Fox cub found alone

Fox cub recovering at RSPCA Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre © Andrew Forsyth / RSPCA Photolibrary

From April to May it’s common to see month-old cubs developing survival skills above ground during the day. 

Parents or relatives are usually nearby, watching. Or you may come across cubs waiting for their mother, as vixens move their litter one by one if they feel the den has been disturbed.

If a cub is sick or injured, see what to do with an injured wild animal.

What to do if you see a fox cub

In most cases it's best to leave them alone, but in sometimes it may be necessary to intervene. Only touch the fox cub if necessary and, if you need to, do so as little as possible to keep them wild.

If the cub is in immediate danger or the eyes are closed, move it to a sheltered spot nearby and, if you like, provide some dog food and water. Check back after 24 hours, by this time the cub will usually have been collected by its parents.

If you find a fox cub on its own with its eyes open and it looks healthy, monitor from a distance for 24 hours (at least overnight).

Feeding a fox cub

If the cub is still there after 24 hours, leave food and water nearby and monitor to see if it's eating and drinking normally. Foxes have no specialised food requirements, but if you have some dog food handy, this is suitable for foxes to eat.

It’s better for 'orphaned' cubs to be left in the wild and given supplementary food than to be brought into captivity. So if cubs are healthy and feeding normally, then provide food until July.

Foxes in captivity

Fox cubs should only be taken into captivity as a last resort. Average stay in a wildlife centre is two to three months, which is a long time in a young fox’s life.

Cubs taken into captivity must be handled as little as possible and it’s important to note the exact location where they were found in case they can be returned.

Please don’t try to rear a cub yourself – they need expert care and foxes used to humans do not survive well in the wild.

Accidentally disturbed a fox litter?

If you disturb a fox litter causing the mother to run away, monitor from a distance. Their mother should return when she feels safe and move her cubs. See The Fox Website for further information.

Living with foxes

What you may want to know:

  • how to stop foxes using your garden
  • how to help foxes
  • if they're dangerous to your children and pets
  • why they scream?

We've provided a handy download that will answer these questions and more in our Living with foxes (PDF 419KB) information sheet.

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