WEST CHESTER TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Some Tri-State residents say they've already spotted coyotes in their backyards this winter and shared their sightings on social media. Some are even calling wildlife specialists for help.
West Chester resident Suzi John said she's not surprised by the coyotes. She said she sees them often, especially this time of year.
"Just because we're not seeing them in the daytime or evening, they are all around, for sure," she said.
John is a Realtor and has lived in West Chester for 19 years. She said she's seen a coyote every other month throughout West Chester and Liberty Township. With growing developments in those areas, there's also a growing coyote population affecting residents and visitors more.
"As far as the development affecting coyotes coming in, I'm sure it is because we are building on their normal environment," she said. "They've probably born there and it's their territory."
Cody Taylor, a wildlife specialist with Taylor Wildlife Removal, said they've been getting about three calls a week about coyotes.
"A lot of people are just scared and they don't know what to do," Taylor said. "They should be a little scared."
Around this time of year, it's no surprise, according to Taylor.
"In the winter, food sources will be more scarce," he said. "They need to go out and venture in places that they weren't before to try and find food. In the spring and fall, they're eating berries on trees."
Taylor recommends that residents turn on their lights before stepping outside. He also says to check surroundings, keep children close and pets on a leash. Also, get rid of any food sources for coyotes.
"A coyote is basically just a dog, in a different form," he said. "They're going to eat the same things that your dog would want. You're leaving cat food out? That coyote is going to come out at night and eat it, because it's free food."