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The City of Waynesboro receives phone calls and complaints concerning fox sightings. It is not necessarily unusual to see a fox or other wildlife. Wildlife sightings generally should not be a cause for concern. The City of Waynesboro is a blend of woodland and urban landscapes. Foxes prey on squirrels, birds, chipmunks, and other small rodents or animals active during the day. Some foxes may not seem startled by people as they learn to adapt to urban environments. These foxes may realize that most humans pose little threat to them, associate humans with proximity sources of food, and foxes can become accustomed to the noises and commotions created by people. Foxes, and other wildlife, may be inclined to make a den under porches, decks, crawl spaces, or outbuildings. The best way to prevent wildlife from becoming a problem on your property or in your area is to not give them a reason to frequent it. Also, it is illegal in the Commonwealth of Virginia to trap and relocate a wild animal.
Foxes are not typically predatory towards humans and rarely pose a threat to pets. Often, foxes are unintentionally attracted to neighborhoods due to significant access to food sources. Once foxes find a reliable food source, they will remain in the area. Some examples of attractant food sources for wildlife can be unsecured trash cans, dumpsters, fruit trees, bird or poultry feed, and cooking grills. It will attract squirrels, mice, and other small rodents, which, in turn, attract foxes and other wildlife. Citizens who put pet food out for domestic animals should limit the time the food is left out. It is unlawful for any person to place, distribute, or allow the placement of food, minerals, carrion, trash, or similar substances when it attracts any species of wildlife in such numbers or circumstances to cause property damage, endanger any person or wildlife, or create a public health concern.
Additionally, hair loss in foxes in the City of Waynesboro is a common occurrence, especially during the warmer months of the year. Hair loss is often the result of Sarcoptic mange. Mange is caused by a mite that buries into the skin of foxes and other wildlife. Common signs of mange can include hair loss, weight loss, scratching, and sores. Some foxes can recover from low-level mange infections while some will not.
The signs and symptoms of a fox, other wildlife, or a domestic animal in possible distress that may cause concern to report the animal to Waynesboro Animal Control may include:
- Partial paralysis or unable to walk
- Circling or staggering as if it is intoxicated
- Acting aggressively
- Acting unnaturally tame
If you see a fox, or any other wild or domestic animal, that displays any of these behavioral signs or physical symptoms, you are encouraged to call the Waynesboro Police Department at (540) 942-6675 or, if an emergency, call 9-1-1 as soon as possible. An officer will respond to attempt to locate the animal and assess the situation. The longer the delay in the reporting, the more difficult it may be to locate the animal for the assessment.
To learn more about human and wildlife interactions, please visit: https://dwr.virginia.gov/wildlife/nuisance/