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Mystery Surrounds Sighting: Is It A Fox Or Coyote Roaming Around Westchester Backyards?

A wild fox or coyote was spotted in Tuckahoe backyards. Photo Credit: Tuckahoe Police Department
A wild fox or coyote was spotted in Tuckahoe backyards. Photo Credit: Tuckahoe Police Department

Keep your pets on a tight leash. There’s been a brand new wild animal sighting in Westchester.

The Tuckahoe Police Department issued an alert for a “large coyote or fox” that was caught on camera in backyards on Dante Avenue and Bella Vista Street. The animal was spotted at approximately 11 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 14.

Police said that the Department of Environmental Conservation advises that coyotes are well adapted to suburban and even some urban environments, but for the most part they will avoid contact with people. However, conflicts with people and pets may result as coyotes tend to be territorial around den sites as they forage almost constantly to provide food for their young. This goes for Foxes as well.

According to police, “as long as these animals seem to be co-existing peacefully, without signs of aggression or disease, we will typically leave them alone and encourage residents to educate themselves about the habits of these animals and precautions that may be taken.”

The DEC has outlined a series of tips to reduce the risk of having a potential coyote incident:

  • Do not feed coyotes and discourage others from doing so;
  • Unintentional food sources attract coyotes and other wildlife and increase risks to people and pets;
  • Do not feed pets outside;
  • Make any garbage inaccessible to coyotes and other animals;
  • Fence or enclose compost piles so they are not accessible to coyotes;
  • Eliminate availability of bird seed. Concentrations of birds and rodents that come to feeders can attract coyotes. If you see a coyote near your bird feeder, clean up waste seed and spillage to remove the attractant;
  • Do not allow coyotes to approach people or pets;
  • Teach children to appreciate coyotes from a distance;
  • If you see a coyote, be aggressive in your behavior - stand tall and hold arms out to look large. If a coyote lingers for too long, then make loud noises, wave your arms, and throw sticks and stones;
  • Do not allow pets to run free. Supervise all outdoor pets to keep them safe from coyotes and other wildlife, especially at sunset and at night. Small dogs and cats are especially vulnerable to coyotes;
  • Fenced yards may deter coyotes. The fence should be tight to the ground, preferably extending six inches below ground level and taller than four feet;
  • Remove brush and tall grass from around your home to reduce protective cover for coyotes. Coyotes are typically secretive and like areas where they can hide;
  • Contact your local police department and DEC regional office for assistance if you notice that coyotes are exhibiting "bold" behaviors and have little or no fear of people. Seeing a coyote occasionally throughout the year is not evidence of bold behavior, and;
  • Ask your neighbors to follow these same steps.

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