Don't let your guard down, suburban pet owners. The coyotes don't.
The city of Bloomington has heard from 11 residents whose pets were killed by coyotes in the past year, WCCO reports. City data show most of the victims were small dogs and the biggest concentration of attacks occurred north of the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge.
The presence of coyotes – and the loss of pets to them – are not new in the Twin Cities area (or any other part of Minnesota).
But sometimes people forget or get complacent.
In issuing an alert after the most recent pet death due to a coyote, Bloomington officials said the homeowners had not heard of any recent attacks and thought it would be all right to let their poodle stay outside unattended.
Bloomington published a map of coyote sightings with red stars indicating the places where dogs had been lost to coyotes. Green stars show where coyotes were hit by cars.
The city advises residents to not leave any pet food outdoors and urges against feeding any wildlife other than birds.
What should you do if you see a coyote?
Get loud. And it's OK to act a little crazy. Experts recommend scaring a coyote off your property by shouting, using noisemakers, and generally making a commotion. They call this hazing. Bloomington even has an instructional video to help you hone your hazing technique.
According to the wildlife control company Critter Control, coyotes range from Central America to the arctic and live in every U.S. state except Hawaii.
They're most active at night and early in the morning. February and March are when they are mating, with litters born in April and May.
The Humane Society of the United States has a management plan outlining how humans and coyotes can coexist.