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If You See A Bobcat Or Coyote, Here's What To Do

The city of Plano shares some tips on handling wildlife encounters
Photo: Mircea Costina | Shutterstock

Last Tuesday a Plano resident spotted a bobcat while taking a walk with her dog near State Highway 121 and Independence Parkway. The Dallas Morning News reported that Dawn Sun immediately picked up her Chihuahua to protect it as soon as she noticed the bobcat had a squirrel dangling in its mouth.

While bobcat and coyote sightings are not rare in North Texas, as we get closer to winter, daytime sightings will become more common as their preys tend to be more active during the day due to the low temperatures at night. According to Frisco’s animal sighting map. In the last 30 days, there have been approximately 30 sightings of wild animals, although the majority of them were not aggressive.

Bobcats and coyotes are scary especially if you have small pets, so what should North Texas residents do if they encounter one? The city of Plano has some advice.

"Bobcat and coyote sightings are not unusual," says Steve Stoler, Plano's media relations director, in a recent video tweet. "While seeing one can be a little startling, it's important to know that those animals have never attacked a single person in Plano's history."

According to Stoler, the best prevention for keeping your pets safe include tips like staying with them at all times while outdoors, keeping them on a leash when you're walking them (while paying attention to your surroundings), removing outdoor food and water sources and getting rid of any possible den spots.

Bobcats, Stoler points out, only hunt animals that are rabbit-sized or smaller. Coyotes, however, will hunt larger prey — but are no threat to healthy adults. Children, he continues, should be taught never to approach or interact with any unknown animal. 

"The best course of action for adults to take when seeing a bobcat or coyote is to scare them off by yelling, throwing a small rock at them, spraying them with a high-powered squirt gun or hose or otherwise making them feel uncomfortable so they learn people are to be avoided," says Stoler, adding, "Our priority is keeping you and your pets safe.”

Earlier this spring 2022 in Dallas, a 2-year-old boy who was sitting on his porch was attacked by a coyote. The animal disappeared in the woods, but after a search was conducted, the coyote was shot dead. "I’ve been doing this for about 20 years now, and I haven’t seen anything like this," urban biologist Brett Johnson told The Dallas Morning News

In case you missed it, check out Local Profile's previous coverage of keeping your dog safe from bobcat attacks.