Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre

Litter of fox cubs doing well after falling into six-metre pits

Litter of fox cubs doing well after falling into six-metre pits in Staffordshire

An RSPCA wildlife centre is caring for four fox cubs who all survived serious injury after falling into deep concrete pits. 

The first cub was rescued from the construction site in Cannock on 29 April, followed by another one the following day and a further two on 1 May. 

On each occasion, workers had called the RSPCA after finding the cubs at the bottom of the double-decker sized six-metre (19.6 feet) pits, covered in oil.  

All of them were rescued by the charity and, despite the steep drop, had escaped serious injury. They are believed to be from the same litter, although their mum is sadly thought to have died. 

They are now being cared for by a specialist team at the charity’s Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre in Nantwich, Cheshire, and are expected to make a full recovery. 

RSPCA Animal Rescue Officer Sophie Taylor, who was called to the site on 29 and 30 April, and used a ladder to climb down and rescue two of the cubs - both females - said: “It was a steep descent and I was amazed, but relieved to find they hadn’t broken any bones. 

“The pits were huge and they were difficult to spot at first, but they were well and truly stranded down there, there was absolutely no way out for them.    

“Like so many of us who want the best for animals, the staff were really concerned for their well being and they did the right thing by calling us, rather than attempting to handle the cubs themselves, who by that stage would have been frightened and stressed.” 

Sophie’s colleague, Animal Rescue Officer Tom Hall, was then called back to the site again on 1 May after a further two cubs - a male and a female - were discovered in separate pits.   

These two were more heavily oiled than the first and had also picked up bits of tar.

Lee Stewart, Manager at Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre where the foxes are all being treated, said: “They were covered in oil when they arrived and their coats were greasy and smelt strongly of chemicals. 

“Our vet was concerned they might have ingested the oil, so they were given oral charcoal treatment to help counteract that. We also carefully checked for any signs of burning to the skin before washing them with warm water and washing up liquid, and flushing their eyes and applying lubricant.

“They were all a little on the thin side, but not emaciated, although sadly we think their mum has probably perished. They’ll be carefully monitored by our wildlife team and will be with us for about six months. They’ll be joined over time by other fox cubs, most of whom will also have been orphaned.

“We’ll then find them a safe place initially where they can be ‘soft’ released and supported for a few weeks, during whichtime they will be independent. Then they'll venture off after a week or so to find a place and establish their own territory.”

The RSPCA has thanked the workers at the site for the concern and compassion they showed in ringing the charity and re-checking the site.

They are going to try and close entry ways, and have been advised to keep an eye out for any further cubs and a possible mum, although a thorough search of the immediate area was carried out and no further foxes were seen. 

For advice and information on what to do if you see a wild animal in distress, please visit the RSPCA’s website

You can support Stapeley Grange, and the work it does year-round to help animals like these fox cubs, by clicking here.   


The RSPCA has launched a new campaign, For Every Kind, urging people to care about the lives of every animal and carry out one million acts of kindness for animals to mark its 200th anniversary. 


To find out more visit


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