Coyote sightings around Savannah make rounds on social media

*(Savannah Police Department)
Updated: Dec. 3, 2020 at 5:42 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - From Victory Heights, to Windsor Forest and Coffee Bluff, social media posts have highlighted a number of recent encounters with what appear to be coyotes around Savannah.

WTOC spoke with a local animal trapping expert to see what he thinks is behind the recent sightings, and what you should do if you see a coyote near your home.

In his 50-plus years of animal trapping in the area, Trapper Jack Douglas said he’s never heard of coyotes being sighted in the Windsor Forest or Coffee Bluff areas.

One possible reason for the recent sightings he says, is a shrinking habitat.

“Anytime you’re bulldozing down all the woods that they live in, they’re going to get closer and closer to homes,” Douglas pointed out.

Savannah Police posted pictures to Facebook a few weeks ago from the Victory Heights area of what appears to be a coyote. And SPD’s Southside precinct acknowledged on their Facebook page coyotes are in areas they patrol, like Windsor Forest, and encouraged people to keep themselves and their pets safe.

“House cats of course attract them because that’s food to them,” Douglas said.

In addition to keeping your pets secure, Douglas added don’t leave pet food or food waste outside unsecured.

He said if you do see a coyote, the best thing to do is report it to either him or the Department of Natural Resources.

“They need to make reports of it so we can know where they’re congregating. Of course the more there is, the more problems they’re going to cause.”

Trapper Jack said the coyotes are trapped using devices that don’t clamp down all the way, but are meant to hold the animal until released by a trapper. The coyote is then transported to a preserve about fifty miles from Savannah.

Douglas said, “When you get there you release it, the coyote. If he does have any blood on his foot we’ll give him a shot of penicillin, and antiseptic and then he goes into a big enclosure at the fox pen.”

Douglas admitted he doesn’t think the proliferation of coyotes in neighborhoods is as bad as some might think, because one coyote can cover a lot of territory and be seen multiple times miles apart.

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