With several reports of coyote sightings in the past few weeks, residents are urged to be hyperaware of their surroundings and the safety of their animals.
Eddie Ramos, Duxbury Animal Control Officer, said 2014 has been a “booming season” for coyotes and their pups.
“There were at least three years where we really didn’t see any coyote babies,” he said. “This year, it appears many more have survived and are now out and about around town.”
The coyote parents are taking their babies out during the day to teach them how to hunt and many residents have had unpleasant interactions with the animals.
“We have had some people get chased and some dogs get chased this year,” Ramos said. “It’s not uncommon for this to happen this time of year, but we are just seeing it more of- ten now.”
The hunting season for the coyotes started about a month ago, Ramos said, which is when residents started noticing their presence. For owners who are concerned about their pets, he recommends keeping dogs on leashes at all times, not letting cats outside unattended, and keeping food, such as squirrel feeders, away from the house.
“Basically what you are doing by having squirrels is bringing coyote food close to your house,” Ramos said. “If you are going to be walking your dogs in the woods, go in large groups and bring something that makes a lot of noise, like an air horn.”
Ramos said he personally brings an air horn and a walk- ing stick with him when he walks his dog, just in case.
Also on the rise this year are fisher cats. Fisher cats are similar to coyotes in what they eat and how they hunt, but they can also climb trees. This poses a problem for outdoor cats who may be able to out run coyotes by running up a tree, but then find themselves in the company of a fisher cat.
“I have seen fisher cats in every section of town,” Ramos said.
Ramos said he is not particularly concerned about the number of coyote sightings this year, but urges residents to be aware of the risks involved with walking dogs and letting cats out of the house.