Falls Church has an abundance of wild animals and it is normal for residents to occasionally encounter one. Urban wildlife is unique in the fact that the animals have adapted and become somewhat domesticated in this congested environment. Consequently, residents are more likely to encounter raccoons at their bird feeder and opossums at their outdoor pet dishes. Often, these animals will show no fear and will not run when approached by humans.

Possessing Wild Animals
Although some wild animals may appear to be good house pets, it is against Virginia State Law to for any citizen to possess any sort of wild animal or bird unless they are properly permitted. This basically means that residents cannot take in that baby raccoon or squirrel they found in their back yard or keep that turtle in a box for their children to play with. Wildlife technically belongs to the Virginia State government and only properly permitted individuals, state game wardens, and animal control personnel can possess or transport these animals.

It is against Falls Church code to trap any wild animal without a permit. This includes homeowners, professional trappers, pest control companies, and exterminators. Wild animals that are trapped must be relinquished to the Animal Control Officer, as they cannot be relocated out of Falls Church. Relocation of wild animals spreads disease and most likely will mean death for the animal, which has been removed from its natural territory. Individuals seeking help with a wild animal problem should contact the Animal Control Officer for assistance.

Wildlife Safety Tips
  • Never feed wildlife. Feeding wild animals can aggravate the spread of disease and cause wild animals to lose their fear of humans.
  • If you feed birds, clean the feeders regularly and remove seed from the ground beneath the feeders. Feed on the ground attracts rats, raccoons, etc. to your yard. Congregating birds at feeders can spread West Nile Virus.
  • Secure trash in trash cans with locking lids.
  • Block holes under decks, porches, and crawl spaces.
  • Cap chimneys and vents with wire mesh.
  • Consider closing pet doors. They provide easy entry for raccoons, rats, and skunks.
  • Remove animal feces from your yard. It attracts rats.
  • Trim tree limbs away from your home.