With coyotes, we have predators for our pets and our children

Everyone seems to have a coyote sighting story. They bravely move into the city, unencumbered by traffic and high rents.

My husband’s friends in West Roxbury saw three coyotes trotting down Lagrange Street as they owned the place one night last week. My editor’s black lab was recently chased by a coyote and two others were waiting near their backyard on Cape Cod. Seeing them sends shivers down your spine.

Facebook community groups and the neighborhood-facing social media app Nextdoor have been flooded with reports of encounters with the fearsome coyote. On Sunday, a Roslyndale resident posted that he and his dog were followed by three large coyotes during the day near Delano Park on the corner of Poplar Street. Under that post, another area resident commented that someone had seen a pack of five on nearby Whitford Street. Last week, a Hyde Park resident posted a video on Nextdoor of a large coyote just outside their house — also during the day.

Another person was recently surrounded by at least nine coyotes while walking his dog at night in Swampscott. The coyotes did not dissipate until a police patrol car arrived.

Winter is coming, and the wild animals in the city know it. Deer, turkey and coyotes lurk around the corner. But unlike city turkeys, which pop up and linger like unwanted dinner guests, coyotes snatch a meal from our growing collection of dogs and cats. They wouldn’t hang out on our streets if it wasn’t worth their time.

They appear to be getting away with it. That’s because coyotes’ natural enemies, wolves and mountain lions, are nowhere to be found on the East Coast. Now our pets have predators.

It’s not like there are more coyotes. Susan McCarthy, a wildlife biologist with the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Wildlife, recently told GBH News that coyote numbers in Massachusetts have remained stable over the past decade. Between 10,000 and 12,000 coyotes call Massachusetts their den. But McCarthy acknowledged that there do appear to be more reports of coyote sightings.

The fearless coyote roaming the urban jungle for food is not a local phenomenon. In a horrific incident in the Los Angeles area, doorbell cameras captured a coyote attacking a 2-year-old girl in broad daylight Friday in her driveway. The coyote grabbed the little girl’s leg and dragged her for a few seconds before the father chased the animal away. There were several scratches on her leg.

Why have coyotes become more brazen and comfortable among humans? According to the researchers, it’s a combination of factors: they’re sneaky, they adapt easily (for example, they’ll eat anything they can find, including insects), and they reproduce relatively quickly.Although coyotes are more active at night, at the height of the pandemic — when most humans went into forced hibernation — experts speculate that coyotes were more likely to come out during the day to explore urban areas they wouldn’t normally explore forward.

That’s why coyotes have been dubbed “America’s Ultimate Survivor,” finding homes in backwoods woods, subdivisions, city parks and backyards.

While reading all the coyote sightings, I realized the odds of me encountering a coyote or – gasp! – There’s a group of people near my Hyde Park and I’m dragging my two dogs high. It’s a scary prospect, but one we should all be prepared to face.if you come across a Coyote, stand up straight, be an alpha, but keep your distance; throw small objects in its direction, but do so Don’t aim for it; flail your arms wildly and make a lot of noise.

No one wants coyotes to prey on pups Children or control the number of house pets. But coyotes are not savages, just opportunists, part of a wider ecosystem. Studies of eastern coyote populations show evidence that canids help keep rodent, geese and even deer populations in check. We humans should get used to them and educate ourselves on how to live with them, experts say. Fair enough, but easier said than done when you encounter a coyote when you least expect it.

Marcela García is a columnist for El Globo. She can be reached at marcela.garcia@globe.com.Follow her on Twitter @marcela_elisa Follow @marcela_elisa on Instagram.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *