Several coyote sightings reported near downtown Houston

There have been several sighting reported recently of coyotes close to downtown Houston.

"I was very surprised," said Chris Alan. "Then, I was a little nervous when I started taking pictures of it. It was running around."

RELATED: Coyote population ‘booming’ in Houston, says biologist

Last week, Alan saw a coyote sunbathing at Memorial Park around 3 p.m. Memorial Park is only a few short miles from the center of downtown Houston.

"He was sunning himself right there," said Alan near the Memorial Park softball field and pool. "You can see the tops of the downtown skyline from here. Which is crazy there is that kind of wildlife right here."

Coyotes are no stranger to the Houston area. According to Zach Vandermost, owner of Critter One, they’re receiving more calls recently relating to coyotes.

"When you really think about it, this is a perfect environment for them," said Vandermost. "There’s trees, burrows, and all of our trash. There’s more food than you can imagine."

RELATED: Cat faces off with coyote on Texas porch in wild video: ‘He was a fighter’

Critter One is one of several companies in the area that relocates nuisance animals. Generally speaking, Vandermost says they don’t relocate coyotes unless they’re causing major problems.

"We’re definitely [noticing] an uptick this year," said Vandermost. "As long as they’re not causing a threat to humans or animals, we should leave them be. Generally, coyotes are doing their own thing. They’re scavengers. They’re not the type of animal to come and attack someone."

Texas Parks and Wildlife lists the following precautions people can take to manage coyotes.

  • Do not feed coyotes! Keep pet food and water inside. Keep garbage securely stored, especially if it has to be put on the curb for collection; use tight-locking or bungee-cord-wrapped trashcans that are not easily opened.
  • Keep compost piles securely covered; correct composting never includes animal matter like bones or fat, which can draw coyotes even more quickly that decomposing vegetable matter.
  • Keep pets inside, confined securely in a kennel or covered exercise yard, or within the close presence of an adult.
  • Walk pets on a leash and accompany them outside, especially at night.
  • Do not feed wildlife on the ground; keep wild bird seed in feeders designed for birds elevated or hanging above ground, and clean up spilled seed from the ground; coyotes can either be drawn directly to the seed, or to the rodents drawn to the seed.
  • Keep fruit trees fenced or pick up fruit that falls to the ground.
  • Do not feed feral cats (domestics gone wild); this can encourage coyotes to prey on cats, as well as feed on cat food left out for them.
  • Minimize clusters of shrubs, trees and other, cover food plants near buildings and children's play areas to avoid attracting rodents and small mammals that will in turn attract coyotes
  • Use noise making and other scaring devices when coyotes are seen. Check with local authorities regarding noise and firearms ordinances. Portable air horns, motor vehicle horns, propane cannons, starter pistols, low-powered pellet guns, slingshots, and thrown rocks can be effective.