HAMILTON COUNTY, Ind. - Coyotes are getting too close for comfort in Carmel and authorities say residents should prepare to see more sightings in the coming months.
Neighbors in Carmel have been spotting the wild animals in their backyards and subdivisions and they're worried about the safety of their kids and pets.
We spoke to wildlife experts with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources who say coyote sightings are common in urban areas, especially this time of year and will only increase as mating season gets underway in a few weeks. The coyotes seen right now are younger and out getting to know their environment.
"They’re trying to establish themselves, trying to find mates and so they’re kind of mixing and running around learning where they want to be and how they’re going to survive," said Falyn Owens, a DNR Urban Wildlife Biologist.
There are simple ways to keep coyotes away from your home. Don't leave any food outside your home--that includes dog food, scraps, and bird food. You should also keep your small pets on a leash.
“Coyotes are able to take outdoor cats, smaller outdoor cats and they can take very small, say, toy sized dogs," said Owens. “Coyotes are going to go after the pet food that’s left out for pets far more often than they’re going to go after anybody’s pet animal. So cat food, dog food, even bird feed, it’s highly nutrient rich.”
If you come face to face with a coyote, do everything you can to deter it. You should yell at the animal or even throw a rock. Making loud noises can scare a coyote into running away.
"They’re pretty skittish," explained Owens. "They do not like to be harassed and they don’t like to be near threats. And people are certainly much bigger than them so it’s fairly simple to get a coyote to understand that they’re not welcome."
Many of these sightings are happening in residential areas which means homeowners cannot shoot the animals. Carmel police say you should call them if you feel threatened or you can hire a licensed trapper.