Coyotes more visible in Central Texas this time of year, biologist shares tips

A nine-year-old girl is still recovering from a coyote bite she suffered while rollerblading outside in the Terra Vista community in Georgetown. Her mom is still shocked.

"It makes me sad to know that she loves playing outside" said Amanda Oparanozie, the child’s mom.

The girl thought it was a dog running up to her, but it was a coyote. She tried to take off, but the animal bit her on the leg. It ran off once she threw a large container at it.

"The incidents of coyotes attacking humans is really, really rare. It’s much more common to be bitten by a dog," said Kelly Simon, Urban Wildlife Biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Texas Parks and Wildlife said this doesn't happen often, but all should be prepared just in case. Simon frequently works in the Williamson County area. She said there was a similar attack nearby a couple of years back.

"There was a person working underneath his car and a coyote came up and gave what we call an investigative bite and that’s where they are not sure what it is that’s laying on the ground," Simon said.

Coyotes are always looking for food, water and shelter. Simon says that although they typically don't hunt humans, they will associate food with us. She hasn't studied this particular attack to find out what the motive was, but it is possible that they found that association in the Terra Vista area.

"Every time that I have seen an aggression report, it has been preceded by somebody giving food, throwing food, trying to get an animal away by throwing food at them, or intentionally feeding," said Simon.

Also, it is the beginning of mating season.

"You do see an increase in testosterone in the males in the late winter and early spring. February and March is when we get a ton of calls, January it’s getting started, ramping up," said Simon.

This time of year, they can become more aggressive and visible. Don't leave food out around the house. Also, Simon said if you encounter a coyote that is getting a bit too need to think fast.

"Certainly don’t throw sandwiches at it, which we laugh at, but it has happened. You want to make yourself appear large, wave your hands, yell, make loud noises, clap," she said.

Williamson County authorities and Simon advise against shooting coyotes, instead, call a professional.

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