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April 05, 2023

North Wildwood police warn pet owners of coyote sightings

The wild animals have prompted similar advisories in communities throughout the region in recent years

Wildlife Coyotes
Coyote North Wildwood North Wildwood Police Department/Facebook

Pet owners in North Wildwood should take precautions to keep their animals safe from coyotes, police say. There have been several coyote sightings reported in recent days.

North Wildwood police are warning pet owners to take precautions after receiving multiple reports of a coyote seen roaming the Jersey Shore town.

Police shared the warning on Tuesday, but did not provide any specific information about when and where the coyote was spotted. 

"Coyotes are opportunistic feeders, and pet owners should use caution when letting out your cat or dog," police wrote on Facebook. "As a precaution, please keep your indoor/outdoor cats inside for (the) next several days. When walking your dogs, remain vigilant to your surroundings, and keep them close to you."

Coyotes are typically nocturnal, but it's not uncommon to see them during the daytime. For the most part, they do not attack people and instead will run away. Families with small children and pets are advised to be vigilant, however.

Coyote sightings have become more frequent in parts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania in recent years, with occasional signs of aggression from the animals.

In 2017, a man walking his dog along the Columbia Trail in Washington Township, Morris County was bitten in the calf and buttocks by a coyote that emerged from the woods. The man fought the coyote off with a stick until it was incapacitated. The coyote later was euthanized.

Two years later, there were two reported coyote attacks near the EcoPreserve of Rutgers University's campus in Livingston. One man was ambushed from the woods and suffered minor injuries. A few days later, a coyote bit another man's pant leg in the area of a campus parking lot. The second attack did not cause any injuries.

In Pennsylvania, coyotes have been spotted in Philadelphia's Roxborough neighborhood and in suburban Cheltenham and Lower Merion townships.

There was a string of coyote incidents in Philly in 2018. One was captured in the Mayfair section of Northeast Philadelphia and another was caught just days later at a dumpster in South Philadelphia. Another was spotted a few months later near Chestnut Hill College.

Last year, after a small pet dog was found dead in its owner's yard in Langhorne, Bucks County, wildlife officials advised that there had recently been several coyote sightings in the area. It was never confirmed whether a coyote was behind the dog's death.

Coyotes are not native to the region. They are a western species more commonly found in prairies and deserts, but have gradually migrated east and propagated after wolves were extirpated from the Northeast during the 19th century.

North Wildwood police have warned residents not to attempt to feed or approach coyotes, since they may carry infectious diseases including rabies. Emergencies should be reported to 911.