KIRKLAND, Wash. -- After a coyote attacked a little girl in Snoqualmie, a lot of people in surrounding areas have been wondering why there have been so many coyote sightings over the past few days.
Thousands of coyotes are all around Western Washington.
“In Bellevue, Issaquah, Sammamish, Duvall, Kirkland,” the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's Kim Chandler said, citing the cities where coyotes have been spotted.
He says this time of year, coyote cubs are kicked out by mom and they’re transient and moving around to find their own territory.
“They’re extremely adaptable, they’re really smart and they’re here to stay,” said Chandler.
Coyotes are coming close to homes, like in Snoqualmie Ridge, where one attacked a 3-year-old; Chandler says it is a public safety issue.
“The kids won’t go outside. It’s kind of scary right now,” said Susan Chavez, the grandmother of the 3-year-old, who suffered only scratches.
The spokesperson for the city of Snoqualmie said they had reports of seven coyote sightings over a 24-hour period.
Chandler said more coyotes in populated areas can mean someone is feeding them, or the animals are on the hunt for food after a hot summer made it tough for wildlife.
“The food source that was there, the natural food source that was there is gone, so now what are we going to look for, now we’re looking for garbage cans, pet food, pets, so this was a bit of an abnormal year,” said Chandler.
He added that people will have to get used to living with coyotes. If people see them, above all, do not run because that triggers an instinct in wild animals, he said.
“Make yourself big, this is my street, this is my yard, you don’t belong here, clap your hands, throw things at him,” said Chandler.
Make noise and use anything that can make a coyote uncomfortable and leave you alone, he said.
“If I hadn’t have gotten up this morning and saw your news article, I wouldn’t have known this happened. I worked all day Saturday, all day Sunday, nobody called Fish and Wildlife,” said Chandler.
Chandler added that coyotes do have a beneficial purpose, they do eat mice and rats and other critters most people don’t want around their homes. He said that people need to not put pet food out and keep garbage cans tightly closed and inside the garage if possible until garbage pickup day.