(NEW YORK) — Authorities in New York City have been searching Wednesday morning after a coyote was reportedly spotted in the city, part of a recent spike in the animals being seen in residential areas across the country.
A section of Manhattan’s Riverside Park was shut down during the search. Coyotes have been reported seen on two other occasions in recent months in the city.
In the northern New Jersey borough of Norwood, wildlife officials spotted two dens near a school.
Coyotes have attacked twice in the area in the past 15 days, police said. John Zeug was ambushed while working in his yard.
“As I turned across the driveway…boom, she bit me in the back of the calf,” Zeug said.
A coyote that was captured in New Jersey after the biting incident has tested positive for rabies, according to Norwood police.
Meanwhile, authorities say they are monitoring another coyote. sighting in the area. Wildlife and animal control officials are helping with the situation, with traps set and extra patrols assigned to the area, Norwood police said.
Coyotes have also been spotted prowling residential areas from California to Wisconsin and Massachusetts.
Jon McPherson, who lives in Groveland, Massachusetts, was bitten as his daughter stood nearby. He later received rabies shots.
“At first I thought, ‘Oh my God. I just got bit by a dog,'” he said. “I turned around and it was a big coyote. Probably waist-high. I was like, ‘Get out of here!'”
According to wildlife experts, coyotes are more visible this time of year because it’s the start of their mating season, and they have been known to move closer to towns to find water and hunt.
Wildlife experts say some of the best ways to reduce the likelihood of a coyote encounter are keeping pets and pet food indoors at night; clear out dense brush where they can hide; and, if you encounter a coyote, make loud noises or throw something to scare it off, then call authorities.
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