Coyote spotted in South Toms River

     (Photo by AutoMotovated Cyclist via Flickr Creative Commons)

    (Photo by AutoMotovated Cyclist via Flickr Creative Commons)

    A coyote was spotted on a school property in South Toms River yesterday.

    Officials at South Toms River Elementary School kept students inside during recess, according to a school letter sent to parents.

    Police responded yesterday and are at the school today. Parents were asked to not let their children play outside the school until the “matter was resolved,” according to the letter. 

    Officials filed a report with the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife. According to the agency, coyotes have been documented in nearly 400 municipalities from all 21 counties — or 94% of the state’s land area.

    In July, a hiker says she escaped coyotes in a wooded section of nearby Manchester by spending five hours in a tree. 

    The Quakertown, Pa., resident thought she had spotted coyotes in the distance and climbed the tree for safety. Lewis, who didn’t have her cellphone, cut off a piece of her pants to tie herself to the tree.

    The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife offers the following guidelines to reduce the likelihood of conflicts with coyotes: 

    Never feed a coyote. Deliberately feeding coyotes puts pets and other residents in the neighborhood at risk. Feeding pet cats and/or feral (wild) cats outdoors can attract coyotes. The coyotes feed on the pet food and also prey upon the cats.
    Put garbage in tightly closed containers that cannot be tipped over.
    Remove sources of water, especially in dry climates.
    Bring pets in at night.
    Put away bird feeders at night to avoid attracting rodents and other coyote prey.
    Provide secure enclosures for rabbits, poultry, and other farm animals.
    Pick up fallen fruit and cover compost piles.
    Although extremely rare, coyotes have been known to attack humans. Parents should monitor their children, even in familiar surroundings, such as backyards.
    Install motion-sensitive lighting around the house.
    Clear brush and dense weeds from around dwellings – this reduces protective cover for coyotes and makes the area less attractive to rodents and rabbits. Coyotes, as well as other predators, are attracted to areas where rodents are concentrated like woodpiles.
    If coyotes are present, make sure they know they’re not welcome. Make loud noises, blast a canned air siren, throw rocks, or spray them with a garden hose.

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    The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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