Video captured the moment someone climbed into a canal to save a drowning fox cub. He said he “didn’t think twice” about taking action to save the creature. But the vet later provided a heart-breaking update.


A viral video shows a man climbing into Grand Union Canal in Market Harborough, Leicestershire, as a fox cub tries to stay above the water on 7 May. Russ Bellamy, the rescuer, swims across the canal and picks the cub up before delivering him to the bank.

Speaking to local paper the Harborough Mail, Bellamy said lucky to be “in the right place at the right time” and “didn’t think twice” once he saw the cub in the water. He continued:

I saw the fox cub… He was struggling, he was getting weaker and he had no chance of getting out because the bank was too steep. So I waded straight in in my T-shirt and shorts.

“He came straight to me, he was puffing and panting. … He then nipped me on the finger and drew blood before going back to sleep!

After rescuing the fox, Bellamy and his wife along with their Yorkshire terrier Bonny took the cub to Leicestershire Wildlife Hospital. He said that he hoped “he vast majority of people would have done exactly the same [thing]”.


Leicestershire Wildlife Hospital posted on 9 May that the fox had delivered into their care. At the time, the hospital said that the fox “is now stable and improving and receiving round the clock care until he is back up to full health”. It also thanked Bellamy for his actions.

However, the following day, the hospital issued a sad update: the cub had passed away. It continued:

After improving since his arrival, he suddenly collapsed again in the last hour and was in a critical condition again and passed away. We suspect him suffering from pneumonia had led to heart failure and caused his death. Unfortunately in this case he could not be saved and this is the sadness of our work.

Nonetheless, the hospital asked people for donations towards its work helping other animals.


Foxes tend to give birth around March, meaning there are lots of young cubs around in the following months still learning about the world around them. Accidents are bound to follow.

Image: RSPCA

On 21 April, KentOnline reported that the RSPCA rescued a fox whose head was stuck in an old car wheel stored in a shed. It said the cub, whose head had been stuck in the wheel for several days, had been abandoned along with his sister by their mother. The owners of the shed discovered the cub after noticing the absent mother and called the RSPCA. An officer attended and released the cub’s head using soap before taking him to South Essex Wildlife Hospital.

And on 28 April, the Glasgow Evening Times reported that the SSPCA rescued a fox cub from a chainlink fence. The animal had got its head stuck in a fence in Motherwell and was unable to pull itself free. SSPCA officer Aidan used wire cutters to release the cub before taking it into care.

While some people are bad news for foxes, these stories remind us that many more treat foxes with the respect and compassion they deserve.

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