A Jersey Shore nature photographer got quite a surprise this week while enjoying a day at Sandy Hook.
John Entwistle was leaving a bayside beach when he spotted the coyote, saying that while he was scared at first, the animal didn’t approach and trotted down the beach.
Peter McCarthy, National Park Service Sandy Hook unit coordinator, says the coyote was last spotted in the northern section of the park, adding that the animal is not native to the area.
The coyote evaded capture in Sea Bright and ran into the park, he says. Officials are working to figure out how to deal with the animal, which could endanger the bird population.
Any visitors that spot the coyote should keep their distance.
The coyote is a wild member of the dog family and closely resembles a small German shepherd with the exception of its long snout and bushy, black-tipped tail, according to a New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife guide.
With no natural predators, the population is rising in New Jersey.
The following guidelines can help 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.
Visit John Entwistle’s Facebook photography page here.