Coyotes becoming more common in urban neighborhoods - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Coyotes becoming more common in urban neighborhoods

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MADISON (WKOW)-- Coyotes have been in the Madison area for hundreds of years, but now more than ever they're taking up residence in urban neighborhoods.

A resident in Midvale Neighborhood in Madison sent a posting to neighbors through the monthly neighborhood newsletter warning them that coyotes have been spotted in the neighborhood. In the article she says that a coyote came within 15 feet of her and her dogs. Other neighbors say they have also seen coyotes recently.

"Most of the time we've seen coyotes here is just walking through the parking lots," Tom Lodl says. "I'd say it's probably ten years ago the first time we actually saw any coyotes in this neighborhood."

Since then Lodl has come across the coyotes a handful of times each year. Some neighbors report seeing them coming in and out of dens just off of Whitney Way in a brushy piece of land in the middle of University Research Park.

"There's lots of evidence of dead rabbits. Once in a while we see a dead duck or a dead goose that happens to land in some of the water that pools around here," Lodl says.

Wildlife experts say it's all part of a nationwide trend with coyotes becoming more and more comfortable around humans.

"They will sometimes come right out during the middle of the day and right by people having a cookout and pay them little mind," DNR Wildlife Biologist Mike Foy says.

In some Southwestern states there have even been reports of coyotes attacking people, especially small children. Here in Wisconsin officials say there is no record of a coyote ever attacking a human.

The attacks have only been limited to small dogs and cats. In January of 2012, a West Madison family's dog was killed by coyotes. DNR officials say they get calls from concerned homeowners at least once a week during the Spring and Summer.

"They're a surviving animal and they are used to living around people," Foy says.

Experts say the average coyote is only about 30 pounds. Wildlife officials say they are typically the size of a Springer Spaniel.

Lodl says he's not concerned, because he believe his large dogs would be able to hold their own against a coyote. He says he really doesn't see them as a threat. They're merely wild animals you can occasionally admire from a distance.

"They're probably holding down the rabbit population or we'd be overrun with bunnies," Lodl chuckles.

Wildlife experts say that if you do come across a coyote near your home the best thing to do is walk away and try to avoid eye contact. If the animal does show signs of aggression experts say you should stand your ground and walk towards the coyote until it runs away, but don't corner the animal. They also advise homeowners to not let your small dogs and cats run loose at night. That's when coyotes typically like to hunt.

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