A coyote spotted in a Cape Coral neighborhood is raising safety concerns for a resident who caught the wild animal on camera.
The video is a little shaky because Jake Hayward filmed it while driving.
"At first, from quite a distance away, it looked like a stray dog," said Hayward, who says he initially followed the coyote because he assumed it was a stray dog.
"My dog was barking and it stopped and sat, and looked at us for a moment then it kept running," said Hayward.
The wild encounter is concerning to Hayward and his mother, Linda Oben, who live near Coronado Parkway where he spotted the coyote.
The area is surrounded by homes, apartments and businesses. After seeing the coyote up close, Hayward is worried a coyote could attack a small child or pet.
"I'd be afraid especially if I had a child. I'd try to evade that situation, "said Hayward.
He contacted animal service officials and Florida Fish and Wildlife, but both agencies said they don't respond to coyote calls. A spokesperson for FWC told Fox 4 now they only respond if the coyote is hurt.
Wildlife officials say coyotes are native to North America and expanding development in Cape Coral has encroached on much of their territory.
FWC encourages residents to learn to coexist with coyotes because they are prominent in urban areas because of easy access to food.
The wild animals are shy and usually run away if challenged. But you can protect yourself by scaring the coyote off. Do this by making loud noises, waving your arms in the air, or acting aggressively.
Coyotes are known to prey on small cats and dogs, so don't let them roam freely.
"It's a sad thing for me, you know. I wish that they could have their environment and we could be left to the safety of ours," said Hayward.
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