In Western Washington, we’re used to living with the wildlife. However, I was uniquely unprepared to spot one in a parking lot of Starbucks last week,
well past sunrise.

If you spot one, it’s most likely to be just before sunset or just after sunrise. They’re generally considered timid or wary and active only at night,
but in the last day alone (March 19-20) four regional news outlets across the country have reported attacks on children in broad daylight. This
is also the time of year where pets tend to go missing, as mated pairs are giving birth to pups conceived late last winter start seeking new food

Reports across social media include sightings in the outlying areas exactly where you’d expect to see them, followed by accounts of wilier animals
appearing at the Winco in Marysville, apartments in downtown Everett, or downtown Mill Creek cross streets.

If you’re seeing them around, and are worried about your kids or pets, here’s some simple ways to reduce your chances of having an encounter. Prevention
is the very best way to reduce the chance of experiencing unwanted interaction with any type of wildlife.

Never, ever feed them. Their natural wariness of humans is eroded as they experience the reward of easy food, and they will become
emboldened, losing their timidity.

Bring your pets indoors from dawn to dusk. All cats and small-to-medium sized dogs can become prey animals if left outdoors.

Secure trash can lids and keep compost tightly covered.

If you feed local feral cats, know that coyotes tend to prey on their population, and where the cats go, coyotes go.

Do not leave small children unattended. This goes without saying for various reasons, except that death by mauling has always been
an issue. Keep shrubs and bushes near play areas trimmed and low to reduce ambush attacks. If you want to look into fencing an area for kids (or
pets/livestock) research what types cannot be climbed or dug beneath.

And if you do see a coyote that has anything but disinterest for you, remember not to run, but to present yourself as a large, loud target. Most will
move on.