This story was written by Associate Regional Editor Sherri Lonon.
Coyote sightings in the Tampa Bay area are nothing new, but reports of aggressive behavior are sending up red flags for some residents.
The wild canines have been linked to the deaths of two sheep in Northwest Hillsborough County and now some say they might also be responsible for missing dogs and cats in neighborhoods there, according to The Tampa Tribune.
Coyote sightings have occurred in recent years in Carrollwood Village, Northdale and nearby Pinellas and Pasco counties, according to a previous Patch story. They’ve also been spotted in such urbanized areas as South Tampa and near Ybor City in recent months, according to the Tribune.
Concerns about frequent sightings even led one Hillsborough County Commissioner to delve deeper into the topic. Ken Hagan asked county staff last year to explore the issue and provide advice to residents on how to protect themselves and their property from not just coyotes, but other wild animals, such as boars.
Coyotes have been a growing presence in Florida for decades, according to a past Patch story. While they’re not indigenous to the state, getting rid of them is not likely, the Tribune points out.
“Coyotes are part of the landscape of Florida now and they’re here to stay,” Angeline Scotten of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission told the Tribune. “They have high productive rates and they eat virtually anything. It’s not economical and it’s not feasible to remove coyotes from Florida, or even a small area.”
Check out the Tribune’s full story here.
Have you spotted coyotes in the Carrollwood area? Tell us about your encounter by commenting below!