Fox and Gowned! University of Hertfordshire’s unexpected visitor

PUBLISHED: 12:08 31 August 2012 | UPDATED: 12:13 02 September 2012

Out-foxed: The trapped animal. Picture courtesy of RSPCA

Out-foxed: The trapped animal. Picture courtesy of RSPCA


ANIMAL rescuers needed a cunning plan when this little critter got himself into trouble in Hatfield this week.

Builders working on refurbishing an office building at the University of Hertfordshire’s de Havilland Campus were greeted with this peculiar site on Wednesday morning.

A fox had crept into the building, but got his head stuck while trying to jump through a hole beneath the floorboards.

It was left to the workers and RSPCA welfare officer Kate Wright to try and prize the creature out.

“I have to admit that when I arrived I was faced with a very odd sight,” said Kate.

“Here was this fox’s head poking out of a floor and he was so jammed he couldn’t move and I just had these big eyes staring at me. I’m not sure if he had got under the flooring through the foundations, but whatever led him there, his plan to get out through the hole clearly hadn’t worked.

“The builders were amazing and when I said the best thing for the rescue was to remove the floor panel he was stuck in – they sorted it out immediately using crowbars.

“Then it was a case of me crawling on the floor and trying to then squeeze the fox’s head back through the hole.

“He couldn’t move any other part of his body, so he just sat there watching me the whole time.

“I had to get to the scruff of his neck while trying to avoid wires and eventually after a lot of pushing, I managed to pop one ear through and then finally the next and he was free.

“Then he went berserk. I managed to keep hold of him, before finally getting him in a cage ready to release him at a safe location nearby. It certainly was a strange morning, but all part of the job with the RSPCA. He was a beautiful fox, and although his neck was slightly swollen from being stuck, I think it was his pride that was hurt more than anything as he had been outfoxed by a hole. He ran off into the wild, and it was great to think that this was a successful rescue, even though it was one of my more unusual I have had to deal with.”

Captain Edmund Blackadder once memorably spoke of a cunning fox “who’d just been appointed Professor of Cunning at Oxford University”.

Clearly, he wasn’t talking about this one.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Welwyn Hatfield Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Welwyn Hatfield Times