ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — 55-year-old Steve Robinson was working underneath his car on Wednesday morning when he felt something snap on his foot.
“I turn over and there’s a coyote standing right there in the yard, right in front of the door, looking at me like what! What are you going to do about it? Nothing!” said Robinson.
The coyote had walked up to him and bit his foot. Deputies and Animal Control Officers responded to his call around 11 a.m. Robinson went to the hospital to receive rabies vaccinations shortly after.
He’s the latest to call Williamson County Animal Control about a wild coyote in the Teravista neighborhood in Round Rock. The county service, which responds to strays, investigates animal cruelty cases and monitors rabies outbreaks, has received 36 reports of roaming coyotes since August.
“We have never had a report of a coyote actually biting someone,” said Phoebe Taylor, an animal control officer in Williamson County.
Taylor said there’s been a migration of wildlife into the Teravista neighborhood due to continued construction all around Williamson County. She estimates there to be around eight coyotes, all traveling in packs, along the streets and golf course.
“They are cutting down the trees and laying concrete where [the coyote’s] home used to be and coyotes are being forced to leave that area, leaving them nowhere to go but in that neighborhood,” Taylor said.
Taylor recognizees the threat this is for neighbors, their children and pets. However, she offered some advice for families who may encounter a coyote.
She suggested screaming and clapping your hands. This process is called “hazing.” It works because coyotes don’t like loud noises. You can put a bell on your dog or put loose change in a soda bottle to shake. She mentioned refraining from leaving your pets and their food outside.
She also said Williamson County Animal Control officers cannot remove wild coyotes. There are other professionals who you can hire to do that.
Finally, she suggests everyone look out for one another.
“Everybody knows to keep away from them, to watch out for them. They are dangerous and they will bite, unprovoked, without problem,” Robinson said.
Coyotes in Austin
According to data from the City of Austin, the winter months are when the most coyote related 311 complaints are made.
Last year, 480 calls were placed in the months of January, February and then Novemeber and December.
That’s more calls placed than the other eight months in the year combined.
So far in the first 15 days of January 2020, the city said it has already received 44 complaints.
You don’t need a license to hunt coyotes “if the coyotes are attacking, about to attack, or have recently attacked livestock, domestic animals, or fowl,” according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. There isn’t a closed season, meaning they can be killed at any time of the year.
Texas Parks and Wildlife considers coyotes a “non-game” animal.
Armadillos, bobcats, mountain lions and rabbits fall under the same category.