MAIZE, Kan. (KSNW) — People who live on the outskirts of Wichita and in neighboring towns have reported seeing coyotes in their neighborhoods. On Thursday morning, the Maize Police Department issued a “Coyote Alert” on its Facebook page.

It says there have been several recent coyote sightings in various residential neighborhoods in the city limits.

“We want to remind residents to be mindful when letting or leaving pets outside, especially if they are not in fenced-in yards,” police say. “Coyotes will often attack and kill domestic pets but will typically shy away from humans unless they are cornered.”

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) says coyotes are good at adapting. They will travel into residential and commercial areas, usually at night, and live in parks and undeveloped edges of communities.

The KDWPT says urban coyotes will form packs. They tend to eat rodents, rabbits, insects, poultry, and fruit but have been known to eat bigger animals. Coyotes will go after cats and small- and medium-sized dogs, so pet owners need to take precautions:

  • Do not leave pets outside unattended. Even in a fenced yard, cats and small dogs may be at risk, which is greatest at dawn, dusk and nighttime, when coyotes are most active.
  • A small complete enclosure within a yard is a safer option if you must leave the pet outside.
  • Keep pets on a leash while walking.

Coyotes are also attracted to yards by pet food and water being left out, fruit and vegetables on the ground, and trash cans not tightly closed.

Wildlife officials say that if you see a coyote, scare it away by shouting, waving your arms, throwing rocks or sticks and generally acting aggressively toward it.