The RSPCA has issued a warning to homeowners over a common garden item which could prove dangerous, and even deadly, for animals.

The warning comes after a fox cub was strangled to death in a back garden football net.

Now, the charity hopes to spread the message about the dangers that everyday netting - like football goals - pose to the wildlife who share our communities.

Putting netting away after use to prevent wild animals getting entangled is just one of the many things volunteers can do to help our native wildlife.

Barry And District News: The RSPCA is renewing its warning about the dangers to wildlife of nettingThe RSPCA is renewing its warning about the dangers to wildlife of netting (Image: Getty/SolStock)

The animal welfare charity hopes the public can help it spread the message about the dangers of football netting.

RSPCA scientific officer Evie Button said “It’s really important that people understand how lethal football netting can be and how often these incidents happen - particularly at this time of year, when the curiosity of young, inexperienced animals gets them into potentially deadly situations.

“We’re urging the public to help us spread the message -  remember to put your sports netting away after use and never leave it unmonitored, particularly overnight.”

Of all our wild mammals, foxes and hedgehogs are the most likely to become tangled in netting.

In 2022, the RSPCA took a total of 1,798 calls relating to all species of animals which had become entangled in netting; of those, 315 were wild mammals and included 167 foxes and 62 hedgehogs.

Evie added: “Football and other types of netting may be fun for humans but can be very dangerous for wild animals if they are left out overnight.

“The RSPCA receives many hundreds of calls every year to rescue animals - often wildlife - who have become tangled in netting on sporting equipment or garden nets.

“Our officers are very busy attending call-outs to rescue animals caught up in sports netting and at this time of the year, reports about young foxes becoming entangled tend to rocket. At that age, they’re very curious but unaware of the dangers.

“Getting tangled up in netting is very stressful for an animal, particularly one that’s wild. And if the animal gets seriously entangled, netting - whether it’s used for sports, fencing or the garden - can cause severe injuries or - as seen recently - even death.

“As wild animals frequently get trapped during the night, they may have been struggling for many hours by the time they are found in the morning and often need veterinary attention and sedation to cut them free.

“It's great that people are getting out and enjoying the great outdoors and nature while having a kick-around - and we love to see that. But we would urge those using sports netting to remove and store all nets after their game and put any discarded or old netting safely in a bin. Any garden fence netting should be replaced with solid metal mesh and use wood panels as fencing instead of netting.”