A Hayes family discovered an orphan kitten and took it to a vet to be cared for, only to find out it was actually a fox cub!
The surprised family made the discovery at the bottom of their garden and brought the 'kitten' to Goddard Veterinary Group, in Hayes End on Friday (March 18).
The tiny animal's litter were found dead close by with no sign of a mother, so the family had been trying to hand-rear it but wanted some advice from vet Hazel Lee.
When the vet examined the 'kitten' and discovered that it was, in fact, a female fox cub, Hazel informed the family and contacted Patsy Taylor, a London-based expert in fox rescue.
Ms Lee, said: "The cub is very tiny and was born probably only three or four days ago.
“Because her littermate was already dead it's possible that her mother had either deserted the nest or been killed.
“We thoroughly enjoyed having her - she tucked into every bottle of milk we gave her and seemed no worse for her ordeal.
“Patsy is very experienced in rearing young fox cubs so we hope she will soon get over this tough start and will be able to live a natural life in the wild when she is a bit older.”
The fox rescue expert has now collected the cub and will rear her in specialist conditions with as little contact with humans as possible.
Keep an eye out for more baby animals during spring
Ms Taylor intends to release her back into the wild when she is old enough.
Ms Lee continued: "In her case, the family was right to bring her to us but, with spring now here, there will be lots of baby animals and birds around us.
“Generally our advice is not to approach them and to leave well alone as their mother may well be close by and could be scared off by humans.
"Obviously if you see an animal which is clearly injured or in distress, the best thing to do is to call us or the RSPCA for advice."