Great story but with very sad ending.
See the video of the rescue here:
A man jumped fully-clothed into a canal in Leicestershire to rescue a drowning fox cub. Russ Bellamy dramatically saved the baby fox after swimming into the Grand Union Canal in Market Harborough yesterday.
The 57-year-old from Desborough said he “didn’t think twice” after spotting the animal in the water and leapt straight in. A video of his heroic actions was uploaded to Tiktok with the voiceover “not all heroes wear capes”, gaining more than 8,000 likes on the platform.
The devoted animal lover said the cub showed its gratitude once out of the water by nipping him on the finger. Russ shared how the wildlife drama unfolded near Union Wharf as he walked by the canal with his wife Sharon, 52, and his Yorkshire terrier Bonny, 13.
Speaking to the Harborough Mail after the incident, he said: “Luckily I was in the right place at the right time. I didn’t think twice as soon as I saw the poor thing in the water.
“I leapt straight in because the fox cub could have died. And I’d like to think that the vast majority of people would have done exactly the same as me.
“Bonny hadn’t been very well so we thought we’d get her out for a lovely walk in the country by the canal in Market Harborough. I do a bit of fishing and like to keep an eye on the water.
“Suddenly I noticed a ripple. I saw the fox cub swimming up and down by the opposite bank. He was struggling, he was getting weaker and he had no chance of getting out because the bank was too steep. So I waded straight in in my T-shirt and shorts.
“The water wasn’t too cold but it did get deeper in the middle and I had to swim towards the cub. He came straight to me, he was puffing and panting. I got him out and we dried him off and Bonny had a sniff. He then nipped me on the finger and drew blood before going back to sleep!
“My wife rang the RSPCA because we weren’t sure where to take him. Then a lady walked along and told us about Leicestershire Wildlife Hospital in Kibworth, We were parked up near the town’s police station.
“So I jumped in the car soaked to the skin and wrapped the tiny fox in a blanket in the back. The staff at the fantastic wildlife hospital took him from us and they are caring for him now.
Russ who has worked Joseph Cheaney shoe factory shop in Desborough for 40 years said they have since checked on the baby fox and he’s doing well.
He added: “I am just pleased that I was there to save this little fox’s life. It was a spontaneous thing to go walking by the canal in Market Harborough – usually I’m watching or playing football and Sharon’s shopping on a Saturday afternoon.
“So maybe this was just meant to be. I got checked out for the bite and luckily my tetanus jabs are up to date. I’m an animal lover as so many people are and it feels really good to know that I saved this tiny fox’s life – even if he did bite me!”
Update: Leicestershire Wildlife Hospital confirmed that the fox cub sadly passed away on May 10. They suspect the cub contracted pneumonia which led to heart failure and ultimately caused his death.