A quick-thinking farmer carried out an emergency c-section on a dead fox, managing to save the four tiny cubs.
Chris Rolfe, 24, performed the surgery on the side of a busy road after the vixen was hit by a car and killed.
Seeing the incident, Chris says he immediately pulled over to check on the animal and found that she was dead.
"I saw her on the road and stopped to check and see if she was suffering," Chris said.
"It was instinctive otherwise instead of one life lost, it would have been the death of all of the cubs as well as the mum."
Chris, who lives in Haywards Heath, West Sussex, checked over the animal and saw that her stomach was moving - letting Chris know that she was pregnant.
Realising that he needed to act fast, Chris ran back to his car and got a knife to perform the c-section on the fox pulling out four teeny cubs.
Farmer Chris Rolfe rescued all four cubs after their mother died. Credit: SWNS
Chris doesn't have any veterinary training but has performed emergency c-sections on sheep during lambing season.
After rescuing the little cubs, Chris popped them into his pockets to keep warm and drove them to his mum's house. His mum has since been hand-rearing them.
Chris said: "I didn't think about it, I just done it."
The cute little cubs, who have been named Ginger, Biscuit, Big Tip and Little Tip, are now seven weeks old and doing well, thanks to Chris's mum, Jean.
They are working with the Fox Project - a charity dedicated to treating red foxes - to help them get them strong enough to be released back into the wild.
Chris added: "I am really pleased they are all healthy.
"It was just something I felt obliged to do, I wouldn't want to see the mum suffer and that is why I got out of the car.
The foxes initially had to be fed milk every 20 minutes. Credit: SWNS
"And then when I realised she had passed away when I was checking her body, I saw her stomach moving.
"I couldn't think about it too much, I just had to perform the c-section because every minute is crucial.
"After I got the cubs out, I took them straight to my mum's and she cared for them - making sure they were clean and getting their circulation going, making she they were up and running."
Jean, who coincidentally has previously looked after foxes with the Fox Project, said she and Chris both had to act fast when he came back with the cubs.
"Chris put them in his pockets and delivered them to me," Jean said. "They arrived all bloody, and in the wild mum would lick them to get them clean.
"Mum would also have quite a rough tongue as well, which would help to get the circulation going. But I wasn't going to do that.
The four foxes are doing well and will hopefully be released into the wild when they are six months old. Credit: SWNS
"So, we got a damp towel and just really rubbed them quite hard, harder than what you would think, and that actually washes them and gets the circulation going.
"We then put them in a cardboard box on top of a heater to keep them warm. Cubs also can't pee and poo themselves and so mum would normally lick them.
"So, we got damp cotton wool and cleaned those areas, to make sure they are able to go to the toilet because that is a major factor in what could kill them."
Jean said she initially had to feed the cubs every 20 minutes, which then dropped to two hours, then three and now they're being weaned - tucking into puppy food and frozen chicks, to help prepare them for living in the wild.
Farmer Chris Rolfe rescued the cubs and his mum Jean took over to help look after them. Credit: SWNS
They hope that the foxes will be released when they are six months old, before then they will be introduced to a number of 'fox foster homes', so they can get used to surroundings without Chris and Jean.
Jean said: "If Chris hadn't stopped, they wouldn't have survived. So Chris just got on with it and dealt with it.
"He was in that frame of mind, I guess because he was looking after the sheep his instinct was there.
"A lot of people talk about having foxes as pets, and even though they are lovely animals, they are wild and they need to be wild."
Featured Image Credit: SWNS
Topics: Uk news
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