For all wildlife that poses a safety threat (e.g. raptors/birds of prey or suspected rabies carriers), please contact Animal Control at 703-838-4444.
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Red-eared sliders, semiaquatic turtles named for the distinctive red stripe on the sides of their heads, are among the most popular pet turtles in the United States. A 1975 federal law prohibits the sale of turtle eggs and live turtles less than four inches in length. In Virginia, red-eared sliders are defined as naturalized wildlife, which makes their sale or purchase illegal in the state. They can be given away or kept as pets, as long the person caring for the slider has no more than five of them. Anyone thinking of a red-eared slider as a pet should consider adopting. Learn more about red-eared sliders.
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Foxes are indigenous to Alexandria and Northern Virginia. As the region developed into an urban landscape, foxes adapted and they continue to live alongside us. Foxes are generally shy and are rarely seen, but they do inhabit our neighborhoods. Most fox sightings occur at night, when they are most active, but as part of their adaptation to urban life, foxes will scavenge for food during both day and night. The mere presence of a fox during daylight hours is not a sign of rabies. Foxes survive by eating rodents and other small mammals like squirrels, woodchucks, and rabbits and they do not hibernate in the winter.
The mating season for foxes lasts from January to early March. Like other forms of wildlife, fox populations fluctuate from year to year and the warmer winters as of late have led to more fox pups surviving. During mating season, foxes will become more vocal and that is often when many residents discover they have foxes living nearby. According to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, “The mere presence of a fox, raccoon, coyote, or bobcat on your property is not necessarily a cause for alarm. These animals are not predatory toward humans and rarely pose a threat to pets.”
If residents see a fox, they should simply leave the animal alone. Residents should never feed wildlife or encourage wild animals to approach them. All household pets should be vaccinated against rabies and not left unattended or allowed to roam the neighborhood. Animal control will not capture or relocate any wild animal simply because they are sighted or are making noise. One of the benefits of living in the City of Alexandria is the abundance of wooded areas and natural habitats, and we must be tolerant and learn to coexist with the wildlife we share our city with.