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  • Freshfields centre shocked as ‘pups’ outfox rescuers!

    Ollie Cowan

    A RESCUE centre in Formby got more than they bargained for when they took in a litter of stray puppies recently.

    When the team at Freshfield Animal Rescue received a delivery of a box of five stray puppies, they had no idea what was to come – and it’s only thanks to an eagle eyed Facebook user that the truth was unveiled sooner rather than later.

    The stray litter of puppies was actually a troop of baby fox cubs!

    They had originally been discovered hiding under a discarded mattress in a Birkdenhead garden but due to their underdeveloped features and dark fluffy fur, they were easily mistaken for kittens.

    Soon the cubs were carefully bundled up and taken across Merseyside to the Freshfields Animal Rescue Centre in Ince Blundell and underwent various checks and given milk for nourishment.

    But soon enough a call came through from Marnington Hemmington, the founder of the Fox Welfare Society who was eager to let the sanctuary know they had more than a littler of adorable puppies on their hands!

    Martin said: “We were contacted via our Facebook page by someone who had seen the photos of the pups online

    “She had sent a few photos asking if the babies in the photos were indeed fox cubs.

    "We confirmed they certainly were and we were advised that they had been taken to a rescue centre in Formby mistakenly as puppies, not fox cubs.

    “The mother fox had probably probably been using the mattress as a den.

    “Vixens leave their cubs all the time whilst they are in the den, and as they get older they'll begin to explore their surroundings more and more, and become less dependent on mum as they get older.”

    Once the fox cubs had been correctly identified, it was the turn of Freshfield Rescue’s very own Fox Man Paul McDonald to take charge!

    Paul said: “Fox cubs don't initially look like foxes when they are cubs, so it's common for people to mistake them for dog puppies.

    "They are brown in colour as opposed to the red, ginger colour of adults.

    “Once the fox cubs were handed over to me I did what was best for them, which was to take them straight back to the garden where they were discovered and try and reunite them with their mother.

    "I didn't give the cubs any milk in order for them to be hungry so they'd cry out and call for their mum, which they did.

    "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.

    “Eventually the mum returned and one by one took her cubs away.

    “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.

    "It made me feel ecstatic that the cubs went back to their mum, as it would have been a tragedy not only for the cubs not being brought up by their own mother, but for the mother to lose her cubs.

    "This is without a doubt the best kind of rescue in my line of work, when nature is allowed to take its own course."

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