I am no expert but coyotes are cowards, seeking easy prey. I’ve never seen one approach a human, although I haven’t researched the history of coyote attacks.

They lived in my old neighborhood in the center of our city. A creek bed behind the houses across the street was their hunting ground as it was for my cat Jolly-Mon, my free spirit who refused to be contained. Before we knew about the coyote intrusion, Jolly-Mon disappeared, as did our neighbor’s cat.

At night my husband walked our two dogs up and down our block. Our Pekingese, intelligent and obedient, was leash-less, a situation that worried me but my husband assured me was fine. Three times he saw coyotes, twice a single one and once an adult with an adolescent. As soon as he yelled and waved his arms, they ran. A group of coyotes might be braver but I doubt it.

Don’t leave food outdoors to attract them. Never leave a cat or small dog unattended outside. When walking at night, carry a flashlight, which they dislike, and a long stick or broom handle, mostly for your own peace of mind since a coyote will rarely get close enough for you to use it.

Besides the risk of a coyote napping a free-running small dog or cat, the major concern with coyotes is rabies.

Honestly, here in Florida, there is more risk of a gator grabbing a dog than a coyote getting one, in spite of coyotes being more prevalent in populated areas. At least with the gators, we can eliminate the threat by not walking dogs near bodies of fresh water.

I was always a writer but lived in a bookkeeper’s body before I found Medium and broke free — well, almost. Working to work less and write more.

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