Move over Jazz, there’s a new heir to the cute crown in Arlington.
On Easter Sunday at about 5 p.m., an adorable baby red fox — a kit — was caught on camera in the backyard of a residence in the Rock Spring neighborhood, near Jamestown Elementary School.
Sally Granade was at Jamestown Park with her daughter when she got a call from her husband.
“He called and said ‘Oh, this baby fox has been staggering in the yard, I got a bowl of water and put it out and now it’s following me around,” Granade tells ARLnow.
Animal control officers arrived in less than 15 minutes, says Granade, and told the family the baby fox was neither sick or injured, simply very young and a bit lost.
It’s thought the kit had wandered from the den, which Granade now believes was under her shed, when mom was out of the house.
“It’s likely that the mom was either out hunting, or she was relocating her kits from one den to another, and the kit happened to make enough noise for the homeowners to notice him,” writes Chelsea Jones, AWLA’s spokesperson.
AWLA believes the kit was only a few weeks old, meaning it was born in the litter season of late March to early April. They were unable to confirm the sex of the baby, though.
Animal control officers requested a four-sided box to gently place the fox in there, so that it couldn’t wander more and mom could find it when she arrived back.
All Granade had was a wicker basket, hence a cute video of the baby fox squawking in a basket.
The officers departed with a request to keep an eye out for the mother.
Sure enough, only about an hour or two later, the family spotted her.
“We saw what was probably the mother sulking around the background… and, by morning, the baby was gone,” says Granade.
Jones says that Granade and her family did exactly what they should have done, which was to not touch the wild animal and call the professionals immediately.
“It’s very important that the public NEVER touch a wild animal unless they absolutely have to because there are zoonotic diseases that can pass from animal to human,” writes Jones. “If you have to touch the animal (it’s in a very dangerous spot, it’s severely injured, etc.), it’s very important to wear thick gloves or use a towel.”
Foxes are certainly not uncommon in Arlington, but in the past year AWLA has received more calls about them and other wildlife. This has more do with humans than the animals.
“We have had more wildlife calls overall in the past year because so many more people are home during the day and seeing more wildlife that they would normally miss because they are at work,” writes Jones.
This is the time of the year that kits begin venturing out of the dens, so it’s normal to spot them in mid-April, Jones notes.
In general, foxes do not pose a threat to humans, however, if they have rabies, they can be dangerous to pets. While they’re fun to watch, do it a safe distance to keep foxes, pets, and humans all safe, Jones says.
For Granade, it was a memorable Easter Sunday evening for her and her family, helping to reunite a baby fox with its mom.
“I was really impressed with the good job that the Animal Welfare League did,” she says. “They even came back to get the basket.”
Photo courtesy Animal Welfare League of Arlington/Facebook
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Animal Control Helps Lost Baby Fox — From the Animal Welfare League of Arlington: “A local homeowner heard a tiny cry coming from their garden and discovered this baby fox, alone and crying for his mother… Knowing that his mom was very likely somewhere nearby, [animal control officers] placed him into a basket and placed him in a safe spot in the garden. The homeowner kept an eye on him the rest of the day, and we are happy to report that by the next morning, the mother had safely retrieved her baby!” [Facebook]
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Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
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Flickr pool photo by Michael Coffman
(Updated at 2:10 p.m.) A fox that later tested positive for rabies attacked two cats in the Fairlington neighborhood, the Animal Welfare League of Arlington announced today.
AWLA says animal control officers responded Saturday to two separate incidents in Fairlington in which a fox attacked a resident’s cat. The fox was found dead the next day and tested positive for rabies this week.
“We are actively working on a multifaceted approach to reduce the risk to the public and prevent future incidents,” AWLA said in a press release, below. “It is important that the community stay alert at this time. Animal Control requests that any fox sightings in the common areas of this community or encroaching on the property in any way be reported immediately.”
On a neighborhood Facebook page, the owner of one of the cats described the attack, which came without warning.
“We were grilling ribs on the patio and the fox jumped the fence and came onto our patio with us standing there. I’ve never seen anything like it. He attacked the cat right in front of us,” said Kay Houghton, a local real estate agent. “When my fiancée tried to break up the fight, the fox started growling and lunging at him. He found a wooden board in the bushes and used it to beat back the fox. This is absolutely not normal fox behavior.”
The cat was “severely injured” and had to be resuscitated by Houghton’s sister, according to the Facebook post. The cat later came to at a local animal hospital but needs additional treatment for potentially debilitating injuries. Houghton’s sister, meanwhile, is receiving rabies shots for the possible exposure.
The second cat was “viciously ambushed,” suffered a badly injured leg and also requires expensive veterinary care, potentially including an amputation, according to a fundraising page established to raise $5,500 for the treatments.
“Luckily, one of the neighbors was able to scare the fox away after several persistent attempts, in cooperation with a bystander’s dog barking that caused the fox to retreat,” the page recounts. Alexandra, the cat, “will come out of this situation stronger than how she came in, and we hope that our outpouring love and the support of others will relieve her anguish caused by this unfortunate event.”
The full AWLA press release is below.
Two separate incidents occurred on Saturday April 25th in the Fairlington Community of Arlington, VA in which a fox attacked and injured two domestic cats.
Animal Control responded to the 2800 block of S. Columbus St. in Arlington County on Saturday April 25th in the afternoon in response to a call about a fox attacking a domestic cat. Shortly thereafter, another call came in regarding an additional cat being attacked by a fox in close vicinity. Animal Control officers were unable to locate the suspect fox at that time.
On Sunday April 26th, Animal Control responded in the morning and retrieved a deceased fox in the 4800 block of 27th Road S. in Arlington County. This fox was sent for testing and confirmed to be positive for rabies.
We are actively working on a multifaceted approach to reduce the risk to the public and prevent future incidents. It is important that the community stay alert at this time.
Animal Control requests that any fox sightings in the common areas of this community or encroaching on the property in any way be reported immediately. Foxes are known to carry rabies, so any interaction with them (person or pet) should be reported immediately to Animal Control. Animal Control is reachable directly 24/7-365 days a year at 703-931-9241.
Dogs, cats, and other domestic pets should be kept inside or on leash at all times. Children should be supervised at all times when outside. Do not feed or approach any wild, stray, or feral animals, even if they appear friendly or injured. Please make sure your dogs and cats are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations.
If you believe you or a member of your family may have had contact with any wild animal, including a fox, please contact the Arlington County Department of Human Services, Nurse of the Day at 703-228-5200, option 1.
Flickr pool photo by GM and MB
Animal control officers in Arlington don’t just deal with urban wildlife issues — like, say, trash pandas stuck in bathtubs.
With expanses of parkland in the county’s confines, sometimes animal control duties become more rugged. An incident involving a fox on Saturday, for instance, prompted an Animal Welfare League of Arlington officer to hike for 15 minutes on the Potomac Heritage Trail.
The officer responded to the hilly and rocky terrain between the GW Parkway and the Potomac River for a report of a fox stuck in a bush. There, they found the little fox tangled in the bush, with a fish hook stuck in it leg.
Once unstuck, the fox was brought to Wildlife Vet Care for surgery, and is now expected to be released back into the wild soon.
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Fox Rescued from Construction Pit — The Animal Welfare League of Arlington rescued a fox from a large pit at a construction site on Monday. The fox was cold and muddy but uninjured; it was released back to “a quiet patch of trees nearby.” [Facebook]
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