Coyote sightings on the rise in Panama City Beach
PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Dozens of people have been reporting coyote sightings around Panama City Beach. While it isn’t unusual to spot one every once in a while, it definitely isn’t as rare as it used to be.
Hearing that there are coyotes at the beach might sound a little strange. But wildlife experts said it really isn’t.
“More and more of the wild habitat is being turned into housing, community shopping malls and things like that. So we’re displacing these animals and then they have nowhere else to go to have their den to forage for food,” Shelby Proie, Wildlife Director at Alaqua Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, said.
A video sent in to NewsChannel 7 by a viewer shows the medium-sized canine running down Clara Avenue.
Proie said sightings are more common this time of year as it’s peak breeding season.
“They’re looking for a mate so they’re out and about,” Proie said.
It’s also not unusual to see coyotes out during the day.
“So it’s actually really common and just part of their biology. They’re very curious animals just like our house pets are so you really shouldn’t be scared if you see a coyote acting normally during the day and frequently in their territory,” Proie said.
Experts said the best thing you can do is remove any attractants like food. You can also prevent interactions with coyotes by keeping your pets inside and walking small dogs on a short leash.
But if you do see one coming towards you, there are things you can do.
“Making yourself look really big, being loud, using just different light sources, playing music on radios,” Proie said.
Proie said it’s also very unlikely is it for somebody to be bitten by a coyote.
“Coyote attacks are very uncommon, so a cool fact that I like to say in the United States, more people die and are injured from the cork of a champagne bottle than are even bitten by coyotes on a yearly basis,” Proie said.
Still, be sure to keep an extra close eye on kids and small pets when you head outside.
Alaqua is a local non-profit that rehabilitates injured or sick wildlife, including coyotes. They offer free services to the public and are 100% donation funded. If you’d like to donate, you can head to Donate Now | Donate Now by Alaqua Animal Refuge (givelively.org)
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