As of January 29th, Frisco has seen its seventh coyote attack since October. These events happened along El Dorado Parkway. The majority of those attacked were joggers, although one child did suffer from a few scratches.
Naturally, this has homeowners in Frisco on edge. The question on everyone's mind is 'Why are the coyotes doing this now?'.
Urban coyotes are normally very skittish animals, preferring to come out at night when human activity has quieted down. Most people have never seen a coyote for this very reason and may be completely unaware that they are prevalent in DFW and coexist with us throughout suburban neighborhoods.
While it is reasonable to fear that a coyote may snatch pets, typically humans don't have anything to worry about when it comes to personal safety. Coyotes, for the most part, are afraid of humans. After all, we are a much larger predator. There is only one reported fatal coyote attack in the recorded U.S. history, in 1981. There are a number of theories as to what is causing this aberrant coyote behavior: loss of habitat, illness, or even a rogue animal kicked out of its pack. Frisco city officials are also unsure but urge the public to remain calm while they work on trapping the aggressive coyote.
Thankfully, the recent string of attacks hasn't been fatal, mostly resulting in fairly minor injuries. However, many Frisco citizens are fearful of encounters with these wild canines. There are a number of precautions you can follow. The idea is to prevent coyotes from adopting this abnormal behavior, and are applicable whether or not you are in the Frisco area where these strange attacks on people are occurring.
Do NOT feed wildlife. Even feeding feral cats can attract a plethora of wildlife such as rats, opossums, and raccoons. Predators, such as coyotes and bobcats, go where their food does. They won't scoff at an easy meal of kibble either.
Coyotes will eat just about anything, so keep lids on trash cans and compost bins secured so wildlife cannot root around inside.
Keep your pets indoors or in secure outdoor enclosures. When taking a dog for a walk, be sure to use a strong 6' or shorter, non-retractable leash. Most cities in DFW have an ordinance stating 6' is the longest length allowed, and this will also keep your pet safer and close to you in case of attack by domestic or wild animals.
If you happen to see a coyote, be as loud as possible to scare the animal away. This is known as hazing, to remind potentially nuisance animals that it is not safe to be around humans. Yelling, waving your arms, and throwing rocks are all good ways to keep coyotes from acclimating to human presence and deciding they have nothing to fear from us.
Left with few other options, these creatures sometimes resort to moving into human habitats in order to survive. Coyotes, raccoons, and bobcats are examples are species that have adapted to thrive in urban environments. The most important thing to remember is that wildlife is meant to be wild. Feeding them ends up causing conflicts like this, not helping the animals. Once wild animals lose their fear, they will get closer to humans and these kinds of unfortunate incidents can occur.
For other pointers on how to handle coyotes, refer to TPWD for other approved methods of deterring them.