Fox has lucky escape after RSPCA rescue it from football net

The animal was rescued by RSPCA animal rescue officer Alison Sparkes who was called to lend a helping hand

A young fox had a lucky escape after having to be carefully cut free from a football net.

The mammal was spotted trapped in the netting at Stoke Lodge Primary School in Patchway and the RSPCA were called to help rescue it.

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RSPCA animal rescue officer Alison Sparkes arrived on the scene to lend a helping hand by gently cutting the fox free.

Alison said: “After carefully cutting away the netting, I was able to take the fox cub to Zetland Vets in Patchway for help and checks before releasing him back home to join the rest of the team.

In 2021, the RSPCA received 2,216 about animals which had become tangled up in netting

“We hope that by sharing pictures of this fox unable to free himself, people will realise how dangerous netting is to wildlife.

“Every year, we rescue hundreds of animals tangled in netting. Some animals survive, but very sadly many animals suffer fatal injuries, often as a result of struggling to get free.

“If they go unnoticed even for a short time, they can really suffer. The tight net can cut off the blood supply to their limbs, damage bones where they’ve tried to frantically escape, or worst of all, they could be strangled to death.”

“To help prevent this from happening - we’re encouraging people to please remove and safely store sports nets after they’ve been used, and to put any old or discarded nets in the bin. These simple actions could save an animal’s life.”

The RSPCA are urging people to remove nets from goals once they are finished playing, to ensure no wildlife gets trapped

In 2021, the RSPCA received 2,216 about animals which had become tangled up in netting.

The animal charity predicts that numbers could rise this year after just a single week in May saw one RSPCA officer attend six separate entangled fox cub incidents, with one sadly ending in a death.

The RSPCA also predicts that the months of June and July are set to be worse for trapped animals.

RSPCA Scientific Officer Evie Button said:  “Football and other types of netting may be fun for humans but can be very dangerous for wild animals if they are left out overnight.

“Our officers are very busy attending call-outs to rescue animals caught up in sports netting and in the past couple of months, we have had a spate of young foxes in particular becoming entangled. At that age, they’re very curious but unaware of the dangers.

“Getting tangled up in netting is very stressful for an animal, particularly one that’s wild. And if the animal gets seriously entangled, netting - whether it’s used for sports, fencing or the garden -  can cause severe injuries or - as seen recently - even death.

“As wild animals frequently get trapped during the night, they may have been struggling for many hours by the time they are found in the morning and often need veterinary attention and sedation to cut them free.

“It’s great that people are getting out and enjoying the great outdoors and nature while having a kick-around. But we would urge those using sports netting to remove and store all nets after their game and put any discarded or old netting safely in a bin.

“Any garden fence netting should be replaced with solid metal mesh and use wood panels as fencing instead of netting.”

There is more information on how to help trapped or injured wildlife on the RSPCA website.