Police in Salem, Massachusetts, are issuing a warning after an increase in coyote sightings in the city of late.
In a recent Facebook post, the police department said coyote sightings are being reported "with increased frequency" across Salem and in surrounding communities. This includes several recent reports of coyotes approaching people who were walking their dogs, particularly in the South Salem/Pickman Park area.
"In some cases, it has been reported that coyotes appear comfortable around people," Salem police said.
If you do have a close encounter with a coyote, state officials say you should pick up and hold children and small pets. Don't turn your back. Instead, make loud noises and calmly back away.
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Helpful tips for avoiding coyotes include:
- Removing sources of food and water, especially at night. This includes pet bowls, fallen fruit from trees, and water in bird baths.
- Securing garbage can lids or storing them indoors.
- Ensuring outdoor enclosures for rabbits, poultry, birds, etc. are well secured.
- Putting away bird feeders and leftover poultry food at night to avoid attracting rodents and other coyote prey.
- Don't leave dogs, cats, and other pets outside unattended, especially at night.
Anyone experiencing problems with coyotes is urged to visit www.mass.gov/masswildlife or contact Mass Wildlife at 978-772-2145.