Two women in Cambridge described run-ins with a coyote on Friday night, including one who said the animal pursued her and her 60-pound pitbull.
She says the threatening coyote approached her around 10 p.m. as they walked near Alewife Station.
“I turned around and there was a coyote like a foot within us and I had no idea that it was there," Deanna Lydon of Cambridge said. "I started doing the things that you’re supposed to do. Yelling and it just kept advancing and coming closer to us."
“So I started running, tripped and fell, and so it went away,” Lydon says.
But she says the coyote came back.
"I said, I’ll walk through Russell Field. It’s all lit. It’s very safe, and then the coyote saw us from a good distance away and started sprinting at us, so I started running again."
About an hour before, another woman says she had a similar encounter, where the coyote was chasing a small bunny. She was also on a trail near the Alewife T stop.
Dave Wattles, of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, says the first incident is more concerning because the coyote actually pursued Lydon and her dog.
Wattles says both encounters are probably the same animal or from the same family.
“When the woman and the dog ran away, that can stimulate the natural instinctive chase instinct that an animal like a coyote has,” said Wattles.
He says the coyote was likely protecting its babies. Their young were born within the past week or so.
“This is the time of the year when we do get reports of aggression from coyotes towards larger dogs and it’s typically when the larger dog is in in the vicinity of the coyote den,” he said.
Lydon says she eventually pried her way through the Alewife MBTA station gate to get to safety. Another nearby couple also made loud noises and clapping to scare the coyote off.
Environmental officials say it’s not abnormal for coyotes to be in urban areas. They recommend trying to scare them off with yelling and screaming, or fight back with a stick or rocks, if the coyote is coming at you to attack.
“Just be aware. Be aware that there has been a coyote that has been more aggressive than we’d like in the area particularly both of these instances happened at night after dark be aware that they can be there,” said Wattles.