Although coyotes have historically resided in rural communities, their presence has become increasingly noticeable in more urban communities such as Everett.
To date, the Everett Police Department has confirmed 38 coyote sightings since January 2020.
Through September of this year, police recorded an average of two sightings per month. However, that number climbed to 10 in October and coyotes have been spotted six times so far this month.
“I think it’s really more about awareness as we have been getting more and more information out on social media,” said Police Chief Steven Mazzie of the spike in sightings. “As a result, I think people are reporting sightings. Also, the weather for this time of year has been really good so more people are on the streets than normal.”
Mazzie said the animals have dens in the cemeteries and along the Malden River, particularly in Rivergreen Park.
From the 10 sightings that were reported in October, five of them came from callers on Andrews Street, Bradford Street, Demers Lane and Franklin Street.
David Wattles, a biologist with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, said coyotes have actually been in the state’s urban communities for the past 20 years, adding that they can quickly adapt to new environments.
Wattles said coyote bites are not common with 24 incidents being reported across the state during the past several years. Although the bites have been “very minor,” he said many of these incidents were caused by residents purposely feeding the coyotes.
“If anyone is intentionally feeding these animals – stop,” said Wattles.
While it is tempting, he said that for the most part, trapping a coyote is not an option.
With the exception of box traps, which have proven to be largely ineffective, all other trapping devices have been illegal since 1976.
If confronted by a coyote, Wattles said running is probably the worst choice a person could make as it would trigger an attack that would otherwise be avoidable.
“Running can stimulate the chase instinct,” he said.
According to the National Park Service, coyotes can reach speeds of up to 43 miles per hour during a pursuit. By comparison, the average person can only run at seven miles per hour.
Rather, Wattles said residents should do whatever is necessary to end the encounter.
“Use everything at your disposal to fend the animal off,” he said.