The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Fairfax County, Virginia: More Coyotes Spotted in Your Area

Monday, January 11, 2016

Fairfax County, Virginia: More Coyotes Spotted in Your Area

Residents in Fairfax County are seeing an increase in the number of coyotes in their neighborhoods in recent months.

A wildlife official for the county said the canines are well established and widespread, so residents should know and understand how to deal with any interactions. January to June is considered mating season for coyotes, and lone male coyotes are on the move, looking for a mate, or females may be looking to create dens in small, enclosed areas.

Small pets may be considered prey due to their similar size to the animal’s natural prey. Larger dogs may be viewed as potential competitors since coyotes are territorial.

“The best way to safeguard pets in areas where coyotes are active is to keep them indoors and do not leave them outside without supervision,” said Dr. Katherine Edwards, Fairfax County Wildlife Management Specialist, in a release.

Officials said coyotes have been sighted in most county parks and residental areas. Recently, a coyote was found after it was hit by a car in the Riverside Park area of Alexandria, Virginia.

In 2012, a dog was attacked by coyotes in Daniel Run Park, located in the area between Old Lee Highway and Main Street. Officials believe the dog, which was off its leash, probably wandered too close to a coyote den.

Preventive practices, such as reduction and removal of food attractants, habitat modification and responding appropriately when interacting with wildlife, are keys to minimizing the likelihood of conflicts with coyotes. People that are approached by a coyote should make noise to scare it off.

If coyotes are behaving aggressively or appear sick or injured, contact the Fairfax County Police non-emergency number at 703-691-2131.


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