Rescuers from East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS) rushed to help save a fox which had fallen into the moat of Seaford Martello Tower.
Volunteers at the tower, which is now a museum of local history, noticed on Tuesday that the fox had invaded the moat of the tower when then opened up the moat doorway.
It was running around jumping up the brick wall in desperation to escape, they said. In fear the fox was going to injure itself, volunteer John Bond called WRAS for help.
Trevor Weeks, WRAS founder, said: “When we arrived the fox was hidden behind a shed, but as soon as it saw us it started running around and jumping up the walls trying to get out, it was clear this rescue was not going to be straight forward and a bit of a battle to catch him.”
Rescuers obtained rescue equipment and worked out their battle plan to try and catch the fox either on top of the shed, where the fox kept attempting to jump out of the moat, or behind the shed where the fox was more enclosed.
The fox had already damaged a nail from trying to jump up the brick wall and was leaving small marks of blood as it ran, they said.
“The fox was extremely fast and the first few attempt to catch the fox was unsuccessful,” said Trevor.
“However as the fox kept running behind the shed we used this to our advantage, and tried to block it in. Being tired from running laps round the moat floor, the fox tried to hide giving us the ideal opportunity to confine and secure the fox using a dog grasper.”
Trevor, working from the shed roof, and rescuer Thea Taylor, working on the ground, were able to slowly restrict the fox to a smaller area till eventually they were able to cover it and get a dog grasper on it.
Trevor said: “I was then able to scruff the fox and lift him to the waiting fox cage where we could then check him for injuries.
“Luckily there was nothing seriously wrong but he had worn his nails down trying to climb out. That was a struggle but a battle we were pleased to win for the foxes sake.”
Rescuers decided not to release the fox straight away due to the traffic, so it was transported to WRAS’s casualty centre for a hearty meal and rest before being returned to Seaford at 8pm where it was released.
Thea said: “It was a blustery evening but the fox was clearly ready to go, and shot off out the cage as soon as the door was opened and legged it off into the distance. The final victory was clear the foxes!”