There's been an increase in sightings of coyotes in the city limits of Wichita Falls recently. The above photo, posted to Facebook, is just one example of this. Today, the city of Wichita Falls officially issued this notice and a few tips on what you should do to keep your pets safe from Coyotes:

December 14, 2015

Coyote Sightings Increase in City Limits-Watch Your Pets

Wichita Falls, Texas- Representatives from the City of Wichita Falls Animal Services Center are alerting the public to a rise in calls concerning coyote sightings within the city limits of Wichita Falls. Coyotes are not usually a danger to humans but they can pose significant threat to small pets. Coyotes hunt small wild animals such as rabbits and mice but they will also just as easily hunt cats and small dogs. Residents with small pets are urged to supervise them at dawn, dusk and night to ensure their safety.
Coyote basics: coyotes are scavengers and will eat just about anything. Coyotes are mostly active at night but on occasion can be seen roaming during the day.  Coyotes are extremely adaptable and will quickly adjust to the changing conditions of their environment as people inhabit more of the coyote’s natural habitat. December thru February is prime mating season for coyotes could be one factor in the increase in recent sightings.

Animal Services suggests the following tips to keep coyotes away:

1) Do not feed them.  They need to remain wild and not dependent on people for food.
2) Eliminate any food or water sources from your yard or property.
3) Bird feeders should be placed up high. Coyotes can be attracted by bread, table scraps or even seeds.  Birds and rodents may also attract them.
4) Place all trash and garbage in secure containers.
5) Feed your pets inside. Do not leave any food sources outside. Pick up any leftover food.  Store pet and livestock feed in inaccessible containers.
6) Trim any shrubbery which may provide cover or a hiding spot. This is especially important at ground level.
7) Maintain secure fencing around your yard.  A tall fence along with a barrier at the bottom to keep coyotes from jumping over or digging under is ideal.  Coyote rollers can also be placed on the outside of fences to keep coyotes from jumping into yards.
8) Supervise all children and pets when they are outside. Do not allow pets to roam freely.  Make sure outdoor housing for any other animals is safe and secure.

If you do see coyotes in your neighborhood, scare them away by making loud noises or yelling at them while flashing bright lights there way (at night). Coyotes are naturally timid and will leave the area if people continue to warn them off. This also interrupts their routine and will help deter them from staying in the area.