Both the red and grey fox are well adapted to urban life and provide important ecological services by keeping native mice in check. You may be surprised, and even frightened, to discover that foxes live in your neighborhood, but these fears are almost completely groundless. Foxes aren’t dangerous to humans, except when they are rabid (which is rare) or are captured and handled.
Follow these tips so you don’t accidentally provide a food source to foxes!
- Never compost meat scraps.
- Store trash securely or place it outside only on the morning of collection.
- Don’t leave pet food outside.
- Never deliberately feed wild animals such as foxes.
- Keep area under birdfeeders free of spilled seed.
It’s not all that unusual to see a fox out during the day. Foxes prey on squirrels and birds, which are only active during the day. So if you see a fox out during the day, he’s as apt to be looking for a meal as sick and disoriented. Take time to observe the behavior of the fox before calling for assistance. Look for:
- Partial paralysis of limbs
- Staggering as if drunk or disoriented
- Signs of unprovoked aggression
- Acting unnaturally tame
Don’t approach the fox yourself. Call the Loudoun County Department of Animal Services at 703-777-0406 if you see a fox showing any of the above signs.