The RSPCA is urging people to put sports netting away after a fox was rescued when he got tangled in a football net at a school in Hertfordshire.
The young fox was freed from the netting at a school in Berry Lane, Rickmansworth, on Thursday (16 March).
When Animal Collection Officer Grace Mead arrived, the fox was struggling to free himself. After the netting was carefully cut away, the uninjured fox was released back into the wild.
Grace said: “Sadly we do get called to a lot of incidents where wildlife have got themselves caught up in sports netting. Now that we’re in spring and the weather will be getting nicer, people will be making more use of tennis and goal nets, which is why it is very important that we get the message out about how hazardous it can be.
“The headmaster at the school was grateful that the fox was freed uninjured, and he will now be making sure that all football nets are put away at the end of the day.”
The fox involved in this incident was lucky, as quite often animals which get tangled up in netting suffer from fatal injuries.
“Sadly, over the years far too many animals are rescued from sports netting, including birds, hedgehogs and foxes,” Grace added.
“As some of these animals are generally nocturnal, they have normally been trapped and struggling all night and so by the time they are found in the morning, they can have very serious injuries and often need veterinary attention to sedate them and remove all the netting.
“So please help us to help keep wildlife safe by putting away your sports nets when you have finished playing. It only takes a few minutes and it could save an animal from suffering, like this poor fox did.”
Other forms of garden netting, like pond or fruit netting, can be a real hazard to wild animals like hedgehogs and the RSPCA recommends replacing these with solid metal mesh.
The RSPCA is a charity and we rely on public donations to exist. To assist our inspectors in carrying out their vital work please text HELP to 78866 to give £3. (Texts cost £3 + one standard network rate message.)