Coyotes have gray or reddish-gray coats with buff underparts, long, rusty or yellowish legs, and a bushy tail. They have arresting yellow eyes and prominent ears. Average weight is 20-40 pounds.
The coyote may pair for life and each year up to 19 young are born. Eating almost anything it can chew, the coyote is an opportunistic and cunning hunter and will hunt and kill pet cats, dogs, and any other small pets left outdoors. It is normal to see coyotes in the city and they are often seen during the day. Known to run up to 40 mph, they often combine efforts with 1 or 2 others when running their prey. The typical den is a wide-mouthed tunnel, terminating in an enlarged nesting area.
The coyote's paw prints closely resemble that of a dog or fox although the coyote tends to follow a straight path across open areas where the others will wander or follow aspects of the landscape. The print is a rough oval shape with 4 toes bearing claw prints. The larger front foot has a much larger pad than the smaller rear foot.
Deer can be quite a surprise for residents when encountered walking down the middle of the street or through their front yard. Often, residents will call Animal Control expressing their concern about a deer in the neighborhood and they will request that Animal Control respond and "pick up" the deer. Although it may seem unusual to see a deer in the city, they are very common. Residents who encounter a deer in their yard should bring their pets in and leave the deer alone. A frightened deer can cause property damage and injury to residents.
Red & Gray Foxes
Both red and gray fox live throughout our region. Fox are nocturnal and also are very adaptable. It is not uncommon for a fox to be living underneath a front porch or landing of an occupied residence. They become very accustomed to the human activity around them. Foxes have their kits in the spring, usually March or April. The kits will remain with their parents until early fall before dispersing on their own. Often fox will not run from humans and can be seen "sunning" themselves in back yards. This is normal behavior but fox are considered to be high-risk rabies vectors and should be observed from afar. If a citizen encounters a fox that shows odd behavior, they should stay away from the animal and contact the Animal Control Officer or the Police Department immediately.
The beaver is the largest rodent found in North America. Its appearance is similar to that of a large muskrat with a broad, flattened tail. Most adults weigh between 30 and 70 pounds and measure about 4 feet in length. Like other rodents, the beaver's front teeth (incisors) grow throughout its life. The back surface of their incisors is softer than the front surface so that when they gnaw, the teeth are constantly sharpened and maintain a chisel-like appearance.
The beaver's front feet, although not webbed, are skillfully used for digging, grooming and carrying objects. Their large hind feet are fully webbed and aid in swimming. It is very normal to see beavers along creeks, streams, and storm drains in Falls Church. Residents should use caution around beavers as they can carry and transmit rabies.