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Coyote Spotted Near Lubber Run?

by ARLnow.com April 17, 2012 at 9:30 am 8,312 70 Comments


Now that we know for sure that there are coyotes living in Arlington, we’re starting to hear more reports of possible coyote sightings.

One resident sent along this tip and photo (above, left) after spotting what might have been a coyote in an Arlington park.

I was walking my dog yesterday morning (Sunday, 7:15AM) in Lubber Run and saw this by the bridge, at first I thought it was a fox, then realized it was too big to be a fox. Perhaps a coyote, it was definitely not a domestic dog. The tail was very long and bushy. It stood by the bridge for about a minute staring at me and my dog.

Photo (left) courtesy David Hartogs. Photo (right) via Wikipedia.

  • True

    I think that’s a fox.

  • Richard Cranium


    • JamesE

      Enhance… enhance… enhance….

    • Michael H.

      That’s what I was going to say. Fox Mulder works just across the river. Get him over here to investigate.

  • Andy

    Now it makes sense. I saw several empty wooden ACME crates in Benjamin Banneker Park the other day, and an anvil suspended by string over a pile of bird seed.

    • Zinger

      Meep meep

      • Stillwell87


  • Tabs

    I saw a mangled (dead) cat this morning on Walter Reed..it looked like worse than anything a car could do, but could be wrong.

    • RittMomney

      That sounds more like a chupa-car-bra

      • drax

        Not bad.

    • The Market Will Bare All

      Are you living in a cabin while writing an expose on the family of a wealthy Scandinavian industrialist? If so, it could have been a warning, based on my research.

  • novasteve

    Every time I hear Lubber run I think of Leisure Suit Larry 1.


  • wat

    Obviously a fox.

    • drax

      Looks big for a fox. And a fox would likely run away very fast when confronting a person and a dog.

      • jordan

        I followed a fox down the street in MD early one morning. They aren’t always flighty.

        And yeah, it’s clearly a fox.

  • Inspirational Canseco

    hard to say for sure but looks like a fox… I know people are coyote crazy but Arlington has some very large foxes.

    • nom de guerre

      I thought all the large foxes hung out in Clarendon at night.

      • Scully

        Dunno about foxes, but cougars, yes

  • David

    I thought it was a fox at first, and still think it could be. But the largest fox on record is 38lbs. My dog is exactly 38lbs and this thing was a good bit bigger than my dog. Which led to my curiosity.

    • BoredHouseWife

      that’s what I thought at first, but it didn’t have the markings of a fox, only the bushy tail. it was much bigger than a healthy fox. It legs were longer.

    • Inspirational Canseco

      could be. and looking closer, the leg height proportions seem to be more in line w/ a coyote tho hard to tell… Generally found they’re tougher to distinguish in the mid atlantic b/c the foxes get pretty large and can have some gray and brown mixed into their coats, and the coyotes seem to be scrawnier. who knows. Would be interesting if they’ve moved into lubber run tho b/c most reports have placed them in northern part of the county along the potomac corridor.

    • tumblebum

      Coyotes have been around Arl in numbers for well over 5 years. it is only the wildlife experts who are surprised to find out.

  • Conspiracy Theorist

    That’s no fox! It’s Bigfoot!

  • balles qui traversent votre visage


  • bobco85

    Which bridge is he talking about? There are a couple (concrete and wooden) in Lubber Run Park. Time to bring my camera and take a stroll through there!

    • David

      It was the concrete bridge by the picnic pavilion, the second bridge in from George Mason Dr.

    • WeiQiang

      Bring a rabbit carcass. You’ll get a closer view.

  • Tre

    obviously a hologram

    • Brownflipflops


  • The Gov..

    I have seen Coyotes in Arlington (Ballston area) for years. And yes I know the difference between a fox and a coyote. My first sighting was at least 4-5 years ago driving on Kirkwood Dr at like 2am after two coyotes has just killed a cat or dog on somebody’s front yard. The kill was fresh and there mouths were covered in blood and they stopped eating and stared at my car when I came to a complete stop. Then they went back to eating.
    The second was again around 2am when I was walking a girl home right there around Quincy St where the park and ball field is. I looked over and saw a almost albino grey coyote, it was skinny, you could his/her ribs. They are around folks.

    • SomeGuy

      You can’t start a story about walking a girl home at 2am and not tell us how it ended.

      • george42

        Lets just say the coyote isnt hungry anymore…..

  • BoredHouseWife

    I saw a ruddy/ blonde looking coyote in the Columbia forest area, walking like he didn’t give a damn in the middle of 11st with a squirrel in his mouth.

  • yabba dabba doo


  • Herpimage

    Nope, a red fox. About 40 pounds plus difference.

    • GoodOmens

      Red foxes only grow to about 24 lbs in size.

  • Kim W

    If that is a coyote then they are in the Barcroft area as well. One just like that walks down my street and in my yard as if he owns the place. My dog goes berserk. I have (and my neighbors too) called it a fox. He is big, but I just thought he was healthy.

    • Josh S

      Back in the day, the Sears catalog called boys of this size “husky.”

    • BoredHouseWife

      yeah that’s the one I saw. I am up on the hill between george mason and columbia pike via columbus/dinwiddie

      I was surprised.
      My neighbor gave me a picture of the fox in our neighbor hood, the one I saw was more blonde and had longer legs.

  • Ballstonian

    In the last week I’ve seen both a coyote and a fox outside my building latenight in the Courthouse area. Doesn’t make for a relaxing smoke break. Do foxes bite? He was about 5 feet away from me and looked pretty hungry.

    • Frank

      Rabid foxes bite people all the time.

      • from what I understand fox will not hurt humans – they are afraid of them and there are not that many rabic foxes out there. I’ll see if I can find the article published in the Barcroft newsletter.

        • Frank

          You are right, healthy foxes will not generally attack humans unless provoked.

          Coyotes on the other hand have shown that they will hunt and attack small humans and other animals in the course of their normal predation.

          • Ballstonian

            I guess I’ve heard they won’t hurt you, but still kinda scary in the dark with no one else around, having a fox stare at you and not run away.

  • Howling at the moon

    There are definitely coyotes around. I saw one on N. 25th and Quincy (donaldson run area), and Potomac Overlook Park posted a video of a coyote on their grounds. Not too much of a stretch that they would be at Lubber Run too. I have an 18 lb dog, so I pay attention to these things.

  • Scott

    Too bad the photo was taken with a camera from a cereal box.

    • bobco85

      I agree! All these technological advances in photography, and still we end up with the quality (okay, slightly better I guess) of the Bigfoot footage from decades ago!

      • drax

        He should carry a high-quality camera around all the time just in case he sees a coyote.

        • Vicente Fox

          …or get a better smart phone.

  • From the Barcroft Newsletter June 2011. It discusses mange but at the end of the article it discusses rabies – which is rare in the entire USA.


    By Kathy Kerr

    The BSCL email chat list recently has had many fox stories—screaming in the woods, following dogs in the mating season, sunning themselves on neighbors’ decks, baby foxes
    (called “kits”) and horribly sick mangy-looking foxes.

    About 6 months ago, Barcrofter Carol Frisbie saw a mangy,
    hairless fox in her yard in a very weakened condition. It
    was wintertime and her heart went out to this pitiful animal.
    She contacted the Animal Welfare League to see if anything could be done. Staff there directed her to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator named Erika Yery.

    Ms. Yery helps to coordinate some 400 volunteers throughout Northern Virginia who work to save foxes suffering from mange. Mange is caused by mites and is not contagious to humans or other animals. It causes constant intense burning and itching which results in loss of fur. Mange does not
    make the fox vicious or dangerous to humans, dogs and cats. Rather, these foxes are very weak and are unable to hunt for food.

    Thankfully, it’s readily treatable with a veterinary serum, injected in a scrap of food (hotdog or piece of chicken).
    Carol keeps the serum on hand, provided by the County wildlife center, and has recently successfully treated at least two foxes who were at the end of their strength. Their condition improved dramatically and quickly.

    The sick foxes need to have 2 doses of the serum, about 2 weeks apart. Carol’s property extends down into the forest behind her house.

    She has established a small feeding area there away from people and pets, including her own dog. The foxes learn there is food there and this makes it easy to inject the food with the serum and get them to eat it.

    Carol reports that foxes are very timid and unaggressive. (Long
    Branch Nature Center staff does say that during mating season, foxes may follow dogs but are extremely unlikely to attack.)

    Foxes do not invade homes, do not attack cats or dogs and do no damage. Their mouths are small so the largest
    animal they can hunt is the size of a rat. Carol notes that Arlington has a severe rat problem and that the foxes significantly help to reduce the rat population. Dogs and cats are simply too large for a fox to want to attack.

    Worried about rabies? The last CDC-verified case of a
    human contracting rabies from a fox in the entire USA was in 1961.

    Carol says that foxes are “such beautiful and intelligent little animals that need our compassion as we squeeze them out of their woodland territory.” She adds: “Though normally timid and reclusive, foxes can sound like they’re being murdered during mating season.

    Ah, Spring!”

    • Espiro

      Not sure what to say to all that, except “Amateur Hour”

      It is bad to provide the foxes or coyotes with food. That will only teach them that humans are a source of food.

      Very few people contract rabies from anything anymore, thanks to medicine. But attacks by rabid foxes and other mammals happen hundreds of times a year.

      And as for the part about them never invading homes, attacking etc. read the story linked below.


    • Lassie

      Mange is caused by mites and is not contagious to … other animals.

      If a fox (canine) can catch it, so can a dog (canine).

      • Sandy

        It depends on the type of mange, but the mites can transfer between foxes and dogs and cause mange in both. My sister lives in Warrenton and her terrier got fox mange after it discovered a small fox den and rooted around inside.

  • photo seems to show the frame of a coyote but the coloring looks like a fox. Maybe a Foxyote??? 🙂

    (I’m still giddy from seeing the space shuttle!)

  • roquer

    Foxes tails stick straight out. Coyotes tails hang down. Coyotes mean folks better not let their cats, and small dogs out by themselves in the a.m. hours. They’ll be eaten.

    • The Market Will Bare All

      Said like a very hungry person looking for a cover story.

  • Rebecca

    If he stood there for “about a minute” staring at the dude and his dog, why couldn’t said dude get a better picture.

    • OldTimer

      Puppycam maybe?

    • drax

      Not everyone owns a smartphone? Nah, couldn’t be that.

    • David

      Said dude did not remember at 7 AM to bring a nice camera on a routine morning walk, simply had an ancient and outdated Droid 2. Also my dog was distracted by her morning constitutional at the time and I did not want her to become engaged with the animal. (Yes I cleaned up after my dog per Arlington County laws).

  • Hattie McDaniel

    “New DNA analysis of coyote poop shows for the first time that some coyotes in the state of Virginia are also part wolf. Scientists think these animals are coyote-wolf hybrids that traveled south from New England along the Appalachian Mountains”


  • Junior

    Always makes me laugh when I talk to my neighbors about the coyotes running around the Waycroft/Woodlawn neighborhood. They think the animals are foxes, even though they’re about twice the size of a fox and the wrong shape. Somehow people think it’s more desirable to have foxes than coyotes, and they take real offense when you say these are coyotes. The best places to see foxes in the area that I know if are in D.C., either at Rock Creek Park or down at Haynes Point.

    • Frank

      Funny, I live there too and have seen the listserv go nuts when some people warn to keep small animals inside because they have had large amounts of animal remnants in their yard…more than what a fox could kill. I have watched the coyote saunter down the sidewalk around midnight on many occasions, and it is the size of a small lab, while the neighborhood foxes are all fairly small.

  • bob

    My property backs onto Lubber Run Park… I have on several warm summer nights over the past few years caught a fox (dunno if always the same one) hanging out and/or passing thru my yard… On one night it was sitting out on the lawn screeching like a 12 yo girl at a Justin Bieber concert… They have very distinct, high pitched, blood curdling screams that will spook those who don’t realize what it is.. I wouldn’t be surprised if the coyotes make their way down here, but David’s pic makes the animal in question look very reddish..

  • Vince

    Clearly it’s a coyote. In the stock photo, the coyote is looking to the left. Whatever is in the other picture is also looking to the left. Following that logic, all things that look to the left are coyotes.

  • sunflower

    coyote is a trickster

  • Garden City

    This is interesting: according to the Arlington,TX Dept. of Animial Services, killing coyotes can actually cause them to increase in number and spread. “Violently disruptive measures cause packs of coyotes to splinter, allowing younger males to breed with females, a task usually reserved for the alpha male in a pack structure. The absence of a hierarchical structure results in an increase in coyote population. New coyote packs require new territory, and coyotes cover an increased amount of land in search of food sources.” Great. Might as well put away the tree stand.


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