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Kentucky wildlife biologist warns about increase in coyote sightings

Published: Mar. 14, 2021 at 11:29 AM EDT|Updated: Mar. 14, 2021 at 1:39 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Coyote sightings are on the rise this time of year, and there’s a reason why.

According to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, it’s coyote breeding season. Wildlife biologist Laura Palmer said now is a good time to keep a closer eye on your pets for their safety.

“If a coyote becomes cornered, it’s a wild animal, it’s going to defend itself,” Palmer said.

Coyotes have been spotted pretty much everywhere in the U.S., and Kentucky is no exception.

“Any sort of abandoned groundhog burrows, or brush piles, anything like that, those can be areas that you need to look out for in urban or suburban areas,” Palmer said.

She said coyotes can live in any climate.

“Coyotes were once restricted to the prairies of Central America, but with reduction in wolf populations, they naturally expanded all over North America,” she said.

Palmer said the omnivores aren’t picky eaters.

“Anything from amphibians, frogs, small rodents, to fruits, they will scavenge as well,” she said.

Palmer said there are steps people can take to avoid any unwelcome encounters.

“People leave pet food out at night for their animals, so we suggest they just feed them in the serving that they need, and then bring the bowls indoors,” she said.

After mating season, coyotes are spotted again in the late spring, searching for food for their pups.

“We encourage people to keep their grills clean, and even sometimes, coyotes can get into people’s gardens, they will eat fruit,” Palmer said.

She said, like most animals, coyotes want to avoid humans, but in the case one becomes aggressive, she recommends people don’t hesitate to take action.

“Shout, appear big, throw sticks or rocks in their direction, but not directly at the animal, and usually, that’s pretty effective,” Palmer said.

She said the reason some coyotes come too close for comfort is often because they’re attracted to food nearby.

The biologist said it’s good to watch out for pets like coyotes watch for their pups. Palmer said, if you’re seeing a coyote frequently on a walking trail or other area, it’s best to avoid that route for a bit.

Find more education on coyote sightings and behavior on the department’s website.

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