Recently there have been reports of a coyote approaching people on the South side. If you encounter a coyote behaving abnormally like this call the police immediately. Please remember that running initiates a follow response. If approached, do not run. Try to calmly leave the area while maintaining visual contact. You can scare or threaten the coyote with loud noises and bright lights. “Act big and loud”, wave your arms and shout, pick up small objects and throw them at the coyote or bang a stick against the ground or hit the coyote with it if it is that close to you. MA Wildlife and the Environmental Police are aware of the situation. It is believed someone is feeding the animal. This has led to it approaching people and grabbing at legs and feet in an attempt to get people to feed it, causing minor abrasions to one Brandeis student. Had the intent been to attack, any injuries would have been quite severe, so people should not fear that a coyote is going around attacking people, however this is still not acceptable behavior and the public safety is our utmost concern. IF YOU ARE FEEDING THE ANIMAL PLEASE STOP IT! Though your intentions may be good, you are only contributing to the death of the animal if it continues to behave this way. Responding officers may resort to lethal actions if the coyote is caught chasing someone.
North Waltham-Spring & Summertime
We have received numerous calls for sightings of an animal roaming the streets and hanging out under porches in this area. Based on some very different descriptions, it is possible there is a coyote and a fox being seen. The coyote would be larger, and appears to be possibly young and lanky but healthy. The fox would be smaller with black legs, a white tipped tail, and has been described as mangy and very thin looking.
Being seen out during the day is not an indication that the animal is ill. It is very normal during the warmer months for many nocturnal animals to be out during the day. Spring is baby season and the mothers spend more time foraging and tend to do so during the day so they can be back at the den at night to protect the young from predators. It is also very common for them to be out with the young, once they are mobile, during the day. Signs of illness would include staggering, walking in circles, seizures, acting unusually tame, unusual vocalizations, or unprovoked aggression. If you see the animal and it is not approaching people and continues to run off as it has been when people are near, just stay away from it and it will move on. To encourage it to stay away you can also haze the animal by shouting, waving your arms and chasing it until it leaves the area. "Act big and make loud noises."
In the case of the fox being seen, it is possible it has mange, a mite that causes them to loose their fur, extreme itching, skin infections and eventually death due to an eventual inability to hunt, especially when the face is affected. This particular type of illness is not a threat to humans, such as rabies. It does not affect the brain or cause them to act aggressively towards humans. It may, however, cause them to search for easy meals when it is unable to hunt successfully, leading them to yards were people leave easily accessible food outside in the form of garbage and pet food. To prevent this, wait to put garbage bags containing food outside until the morning of collection day and do not feed pets outside.
The maps below show the main areas where sightings have been reported. (Though there are sporadic sightings of others all around the city.)The second map shows why this area is preferred by these animals. Take note of the conservation land surrounding the neighborhood! The perfect habitat for these animals with plenty of woods.
Here are some examples of what you may be seeing. The fox on the left has mange. The fox on the right, however, is perfectly healthy. It just looks mangy, as many wild animals do, this time of year as they shed out their winter coats.
The same is true for this coyote. Larger than a fox, they can have reddish colored coats and with mange on top of that, it can be difficult to distinguish from a fox based on the coat alone. The coyote on the left has mange, where the on the right is simply shedding out.
There have also been reports of a fisher cat sighting on Plant Rd. Although usually very elusive animals, often times the young are out getting into mischief when mom is resting. This particular animal has been sighted a few times, but always runs off into the woods when approached too closely, as it should.
Do not approach the wildlife, stay away and it will usually move on shortly. If it appears ill or is approaching humans, call Animal Control at 781-314-3596, or dispatch 781-893-3700 during off hours or when Animal Control is not at the desk, so an officer can be sent to evaluate.