The reason that a lot of the residents in Braemar chose this particular community was the preservation of green spaces and tree save areas. While these areas do bring an aesthetically pleasing quality to our neighborhood, it is also home to wildlife, some of which you may not expect.
We’ve all seen deer, bunnies, raccoons, turtles and the occasional opossum. What you may not have noticed are snakes, fox and coyotes. There have been sightings of all of these, particularly in the vicinity of Tartan Hills Parkway.
Calls to animal control have been made by various residents and the results are the same. The County and State officials will not come to trap wildlife unless it is thought to be injured or rabid. And to date, the descriptions of the animals’ activities have not been considered dangerous by our County officials.
Signs of a rabid animal would include excessive drooling, wandering aimlessly or off balance, and eating items like wood that they wouldn’t normally eat. With the exception of raccoons that can carry rabies and not be infected, rabid animals will generally die of the illness in a matter of days once they become symptomatic. Rabid animals should be reported to the Animal Warden, who can be reached at Prince William County’s non-emergency dispatch at 703-792-6500.
Parents of infants and owners of small dogs and cats should be aware of the presence of the coyote in our neighborhood. It may not live here, as coyotes do travel great distances to hunt, but if it’s making its way through, a baby or small animal could be in danger.
The fox seems to have taken up residence in the woods west of Tartan Hills Parkway. And some residents have stumbled on it while out for recreational walks or runs. It is unlikely to be a threat to anyone, but may startle you. Just remember, this fox is likely more afraid of you than you are of it.
Snakes are another creature attracted to these wooded areas. There have been copperhead snake sightings in our neighborhood before, and those can be deadly. Poisonous snakes have pointed heads, while those that are not have more rounded heads. Regardless of whether the snake is thought to be poisonous or not, leave them alone.
No matter the wildlife you encounter, it is important to remember to stay calm and to not approach them. Chances are, no matter what it is you’ve stumbled on, from a snake to a coyote, it is more afraid of you than you are of it. If you are attacked or bitten, depending on the severity, it is advised to call 9-1-1 or seek medical help as quickly as possible.
This article will appear in the July/August edition of the Bagpiper.
Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker-Licensed in Virginia, Long & Foster REALTORS®