A day-old deer managed to get stuck in a rabbit hole overnight – before a quick-thinking farmer saved its life by pulling it out by the neck.
Pete Wesley and his wife Jane, 55, were doing their morning rounds in Sleaford, Lincolnshire on June 2 when they saw a mother red deer looking concerned before realizing her baby was lost under the grass.
Heart-pounding recordings show how the 53-year-old reaches into an abyss in the grass and grabs the desperate fawn’s neck, which makes him cry.
After a minute of fighting, Pete managed to free the baby animal from the floor and bring it back to its mother, where it fed for half an hour.
Pete said, “The calf would not have gotten itself out of the hole, it was stuck.
“It couldn’t have gotten up in the hole, so its only way out was how I pulled it out, which it couldn’t have done on its own even if the mother tried to help.
“I had to be a bit tight with my calf, but I didn’t want it to shuffle any further into the hole.
“The mother had just given birth in this area the day before, so we went to see if they were both okay. When we got there we noticed the hole and found it pretty quickly.
“Jane saw the mother hanging around and we went to see what was going on. The mother was desperate and ran around everywhere.
“Luckily she’s one of the docile ones and she didn’t attack me. They don’t mean any harm to you, but they will try to fight you away from their calf.
“The calf would have been in the hole at least overnight. Its mother was clearly full of milk when we got there, so it hadn’t eaten in a while.”
The hole was first made by a fox and rabbit, but bad weather over the winter has shattered it and left the hidden pit into which the deer could fall.
Pete said, “We have filled this hole and others on the farm that we saw, hopefully to prevent it from reoccurring.
“This is the first time I’ve ever had to rescue an animal from a rabbit hole and we’ve been breeding deer since 1994.
“As soon as it was outside, the mother came over and they started to eat immediately. We watched him drink for about 30 minutes, it must have been starving.
“I was really happy that we managed to save the fawn. If Jane hadn’t discovered it, I wouldn’t have found out and it couldn’t have survived.
“We sweep the yard every morning, especially when the deer calves, to make sure everything is okay.
“It is our responsibility to keep the animals safe and looked after, but it is still gratifying to have helped here.”