What to do if you see a coyote behaving strangely or aggressively in Massachusetts | Coyote

What to do if you see a coyote behaving strangely or aggressively

Coyotes are primarily nocturnal, meaning they come out mostly at night; however just seeing them during the day is not a sign that the animal is aggressive or sick. They are commonly seen during the day in urban and suburban areas and are usually attracted there by a food source or an easily accessed area to make a den such as under porches/decks, crawl spaces or out-buildings. The best way to prevent them from becoming a problem is to not give them a reason to come.

Most wild animals keep their distance from people, including coyotes — and you should keep your distance from wildlife. Wild animals can be unpredictable. While actual attacks are unlikely, they most often occur when animals are startled, sick or habituated to people, or if they feel threatened.

If an animal appears sick, it will likely die soon. It is often best to leave it alone. If there has been no contact with humans or pets and the animal is not threatening or aggressive, no further action is needed. Because there may be other infected animals in the area, stay on guard.

If a wild animal is in your yard behaving aggressively and there has been no contact with people or pets, contact your local animal control or state wildlife agency immediately. They will assess the threat and take appropriate action to deal with the offending animal.

If your pet has had direct contact with a wild animal that was behaving aggressively (i.e., it was bitten or scratched), call your veterinarian for advice. If the aggressive animal was potentially rabid, it is best not to touch your pet during this time since the rabies virus from the saliva of the infected animal may be present on the hair and skin. If you must handle your pet, protect yourself by wearing gloves and protective clothing. If you have handled your pet without protection, consult your doctor and local health department for advice.

Laws and regulations to be aware of

While we attempt to provide guidance about state and federal regulations pertaining to specific species and control techniques, we do not provide information about local jurisdictions (city, town, county, etc.) where regulations may be more restrictive, especially as it applies to discharge of firearms, transport of animals or use of trapping equipment. Contact your local city or county government to inquire further. No guarantee is made that information (or lack of information) associated with a species or control technique is completely accurate or current. You should become familiar with federal, state and local laws before beginning any wildlife control activities.

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