WEST MICHIGAN — Don't be surprised if you see or hear coyotes near your home. They have been making their presence known in West Michigan for years now.
Coyote mating season began in January and continues to be strong this month. They have become increasingly visible as they set up their territory and look for food.
While coyotes typically do not attack humans, plenty of times they have taken small house pets as their prey.
If you have seen or heard them more this year than others, whether on social media or with your own eyes or ears, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources says it is has a lot to do with their migration patterns and the time of the year rather than them becoming more prevalent.
Coyotes are a natural part of Michigan's ecosystem, so it is not unusual to see them.
If you want to keep your small pets safe, Hannah Schauer with the DNR says the best thing to do is to go outside with them and even keep them on a leash so they don't run off.
Your presence while with your pet is going to make any coyote weary of getting too close because they are naturally scared of humans.
Keeping garbage locked away, particularly inside until pick-up day and removing any pet food or bird feeders from your yard can keep coyotes from surveying your home.
If you see one while taking your pet out or walking on your own, be loud and assertive to scare it off.