Foxes provides advice on what to do if you find a sick, injured or abandoned wild bird or animal





Due to their successful adaptation to urban life foxes come into contact with humans very frequently. Unfortunately this provides them with a lot of potential for injury or illness.




When to Help

If the fox has been hit by a car
The animal will need to be assessed for concussion, shock or other injuries.
If the fox has been attacked by a dog
It will need to be assessed for injuries and should be treated for shock and given antibiotics.
A fox trapped in a fence, netting or wire.
Don’t attempt to free it yourself – you could be bitten and could make the injuries worse. The fox needs to be freed by an expert and will then need treatment for injuries.
If a fox of any age has an obvious injury.
Whether adult or baby, any fox with a visible wound or damaged limb will need help
If the fox has fur loss, or its skin looks crusty particularly on its back or face.
It may be suffering from sarcoptic mange. Mild cases can be treated on site by adding a treatment to the food (Contact the National Fox Welfare Society), more severe cases may need to be trapped and treated as an inpatient.
If an adult fox can be approached
Although foxes are accustomed to human presence they should not be so relaxed that they’ll let you walk right up to them. If the fox cannot or does not attempt to run away it is in trouble.
A healthy looking fox out by day.
This is not necessarily cause for alarm as foxes are becoming more used to living amongst us. If in doubt approach the fox and call for help if you can get close to him or see an obvious problem.
An apparently abandoned den or cub.
Unless cubs are injured or in danger observe for several hours before intervening. If there is no sign of an adult after this time call for advice. Try not to touch the cubs.

Capture, Containment and Care

For advice concerning fox cubs please see our baby mammals page.

Never attempt to capture an adult fox yourself – a scared fox can give you a serious bite. Although a cub may be less dangerous, we would still advise that you call a wildlife rescue before handling the baby where possible.

Upon contacting a wildlife rescue for help with an injured adult fox, you will commonly be asked to approach it first. The reason for this is that there is no point a rescue sending a team out to a fox which simply hops up and runs away when they get there. To save time, if you see an injured adult fox, check whether it is mobile before calling the wildlife rescue. Walk up to the fox and try to get within about six foot of the animal. Don’t worry, it will not attack, if able it will simply run away. If the fox remains still, call a wildlife rescue immediately. If it starts to move away but is clearly slow and impaired, retreat immediately but try to observe where the fox goes before calling for help. If the fox is injured but still mobile then it’s very unlikely that a wildlife rescue team will be able to capture it and trying to do so would cause the fox a great deal of stress. In these situations, the rescue may be able to set a humane cage trap which they will ask you to bait with food.