CAPE CORAL, FL — After two decades of spending winter in Cape Coral, Linda Spies says she recently noticed something new in her backyard.
"I have seen scat in the past up north and I took one look and realized that's exactly what we have in this backyard. And we don't in an area where you would expect them to be," she said.
Concerned, she posted in her Nextdoor app about it and quickly found out she wasn't alone.
"Many people had seen them in the neighborhood just north of here and they were concerned. And then people started telling me about seeing them over by the old golf course and on Del Prado," she said.
With coyote sightings up, people want to know what they can do to keep their family and pets safe.
According to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the basics are simple. To help keep them off of your property you should make sure your garbage cans are secure, don't leave food out, and keep those lanais closed.
But what should you do if one approaches you in person?
FWC says you can scare coyotes away by placing change or pebbles in a can or bottle and shake it to scare them away. If that doesn't work, try yelling or making a lot of noise. You can also try spraying them with a water hose if you have one nearby.
Coyotes aren't a protected species, but the FWC says it prefers that you use techniques that won't injure the animals.
They're methods that Lisa says she's looking into, as she hopes to be able to live alongside the animals as peacefully as possible.
"I don't understand why Florida's not a little more concerned about destroying all of the habitat. We need to peacefully coexist. And there are ways that we can. You just have to educate yourself and be aware," she said.
The FWC also adds that if you notice a coyote that has lost its fear of humans and is approaching you or others, you should contact them at 863-648-3200.