A number of coyote sightings have been reported in neighborhoods near Memorial Park in the past week, raising concerns for area residents.
According to several eyewitness accounts, a coyote has been spotted roaming near Memorial Drive at Westcott Street. A tenant of the nearby Bayou Bend Towers reported seeing a coyote attempt to enter the building's lobby and later saw it in the complex's parking garage. Other eyewitnesses said they also saw a coyote in the garage of a residential building only a few blocks away.
"It wasn't super aggressive," she said, "but it tailed us down the street."
Area resident Dawn Henderson said she spotted a coyote last Friday while taking her dogs for a walk. "It wasn't super aggressive," she said, "but it tailed us down the street."
Henderson says a few residents contacted Houston animal control after initially seeing the coyote, although she noted "they only seem to respond if the animal is reported to be aggressive." She "thankfully" hasn't heard of any coyote sightings for several days and hopes that residents' attempts to scare off the animal were successful.
Another eyewitness account comes from Karen Penner, who was walking her golden retriever in Memorial Park recently when she turned a corner and spotted a coyote.
"It seemed like a baby," she said. Her dog chased after the animal for a short distance before the coyote ran out of sight. "I've never seen a coyote in Memorial Park before," she said, adding that perhaps the animal was there due to the dearth of habitats in the surrounding areas.
It's not the first time the wily animals have been spotted around Houston. Earlier this year, KHOU reported that residents of Bellaire were concerned after a rash of wild coyote sightings. And late last year, Hobby Airport officials caught and captured a coyote who was running on the runways.
Rapid urban and suburban development has destroyed coyote habitats, forcing the animal into populated areas. According to the City of Houston BARC animal control website,
Coyotes have adapted well to suburban and urban living. They are, as are most wild animals, attracted to pet food. Coyotes are members of the Canid family, which includes wolves, dogs and foxes. Coyotes are considered a high rabies risk animal.
Adult coyotes weigh an average of 30 to 50 pounds, and are four to five feet long from nose to end of tail. They are carnivores, whose diet consists of mice, rabbits, deer fawns, birds and various invertebrates. They are also scavengers. Feed your pets inside and keep pet food in a secured area with a tight fitting lid. Keep garbage sealed tightly inside cans with well fitting lids."