As a result, the team dropped their tools and hatched a plan to rescue the stricken animal. Plastic and mud caked the hole, so they needed to be careful if they were going to get the creature out unscathed. Furthermore, they had no idea how long the puppy had been down there. Time, then, was of the essence.

Image: South Essex Wildlife Hospital via Daily Mail

Delicately, but as quickly as they could, the builders lifted the animal from the hole. When they got it onto solid ground, though, they couldn’t tell what kind of creature they had found. Yes, it was so coated in mud that all of its features had been obscured.

Image: Facebook/South Essex Wildlife Hospital

Indeed, most of the mud had dried solid, with a thick, hard shell coating the poor animal’s fur. As a result, the workers had no idea if it was in pain; all they knew was that it needed specialist care and quickly.

Image: LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

That’s when the builders transported the creature to South Essex Wildlife Hospital. It was only there that they discovered the hapless animal wasn’t a puppy after all. They had, in fact, found a four-month-old red fox.

Image: South Essex Wildlife Hospital via Daily Mail

According to an estimate published by The Guardian in 2017, there are around 150,000 urban foxes living in the U.K. Perhaps as a result, wildlife hospitals – such as the one in Essex – are used to dealing with the animals. And with such experience on offer, the little kit the construction workers had rescued was in the best possible hands.

Image: South Essex Wildlife Hospital via Daily Mail

For duty vets at the hospital, removing the fox’s thick coat of mud was a priority, so they gave the animal a long scrub down in the bath. Soon his distinctive red fur was spotless once more, and the staff could then concentrate on getting him fighting fit. They also gave him a very appropriate name: “Muddsey.”

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Image: Facebook/Essex Badger Protection Group

Sue Schwar was just relieved that the animal had come to them when he had. According to his builder rescuers, Muddsey had no way of exiting the hole unaided. As a result, she credited them with saving the fox’s young life.

Image: Facebook/Sue Schwar

“It would certainly have had a pretty awful death if it hadn’t been found,” she told the Daily Mail in 2012. “It was very cold and in shock, but is fine now. We felt very sorry for him because he was completely caked and was absolutely petrified.”

Image: Pixabay

She added to the newspaper, “The builders were doing some ground work on the site and there were a couple of holes left open. None of us knew how long he had been down that hole. It could have been all weekend.”

Image: South Essex Wildlife Hospital

And while the current whereabouts of Muddsey are unknown, hopefully he’s learned from his brush with danger. After all, a construction site is no place for a baby fox.