A FOX cub was given a much-needed scrubbing down after spending the night in a septic tank.
The cub was found by builders in the tank on a building site near Ardingly College, Haywards Heath.
It had fallen into the tank during the night and had to be hoisted out on the end of a rope, covered in excrement. The poorly cub, named Sherman, was taken to Cootes Veterinary Clinic, Burgess Hill, on Wednesday morning.
East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS) was called out by Cootes at around 9.30am.
Dave Novell, volunteer WRAS rescuer, said: “I was surprised at how much he smelt and I’m not surprised the vets didn’t want to touch him.”
The unfortunate fox was taken by ambulance to the WRAS Casualty Care Centre in Whitesmith, near Chiddingly, where assistant manager Chris Riddington took on the job of cleaning him up.
Mr Riddington, who had to wear protective clothing while washing off the sewage from the septic tank, said: “He looked so sheepish in his carrier, and I’m sure he didn’t like the smell any more than we did.
“We used nice warm water and gently cleaned him up.
“Some of the clumps of sewage were difficult to get off but with a bit of soaking and the use of a comb they eventually came off.
“This has to be the smelliest casualty I’ve had to deal with. We decided to name him Sherman as he was found in a septic tank.”
Sherman was then given antibiotics and was bedded down on a warm towel to recover.
Trevor Weeks MBE, founder and operations director, said yesterday: “We are monitoring his condition because we are not sure if he ingested anything.
“He still smells a bit so he will have to have another clean-up tomorrow. We’re giving him a break today.”
It is hoped it will be possible to release the fox near where he was found.
WRAS, which operates four ambulances, is an independent charity providing a front-line rescue service for injured wildlife.
For details see wildlifeambulance.org.