Seattle residents report coyote sightings; wildlife experts say it's not uncommon

Many Seattle residents have reported coyote sightings in their neighborhoods. The Department of Fish and Wildlife says this is not out of the ordinary for this time of year.

"Right now they're breeding so they have tightened up their territories a little bit and they're centered around those breeding activities, defending a den, and going through their annual motions," said district wildlife biologist Chris Anderson.

Debbie McKagan says she's concerned for her pet cats after sightings in her Ballard neighborhood.

"I've seen them when I'd be driving home on 32nd. I've seen them out on the road, at the edges of people's property a few times," said McKagan.

Home video caught a coyote running through a backyard in Ballard last Sunday. On Monday, there was a sighting in a residential neighborhood on NW 85th Street near Golden Gardens. A coyote was also spotted around homes near Fremont.

Anderson says coyotes are most likely out and about during the early morning hours and in the evening and night to hunt. Coyote diet changes with what's available.

"Small pets are potential prey items, any domestic animals you have outside, particularly those periods when we're seeing coyotes or when we know they're active, you need to be conscious as a property owner, as a pet owner, small children as well," warns Anderson.

Garbage, compost, and even birdseed on the ground can attract coyotes and other wild animals to people's homes. Anderson says wild animals naturally view humans as predators, but interfering with their natural behavior such as feeding them can cause them to lose natural fear of humans and can become very dangerous.

"Not only coyotes, but black bears, and even habituated raccoons can be very aggressive if they've lost a bit of their wild," said Anderson.

To learn more about coyotes and other wild animals, the Department of Fish and Wildlife recommends their Living with Wildlife series found here: