BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Animals are disappearing in a neighborhood and residents believe coyotes are to blame, so they're turning to technology to try to outwit the wily creatures.
Coyotes are very smart and very fast, which makes them extremely hard to catch. However, through a Facebook page, folks are warning each other to be on the lookout and protect their pets. Lost Pets of Baton Rouge on Facebook is where people look for their missing four-legged friends, but a warning posted on the page has triggered many responses.
Feeding an outside cat seems harmless enough, but once the sun sets, the coyote is one predator that could be attracted to the food and the pet.
"You should expect to see coyotes in Baton Rouge," said Hilton Cole, the director of East Baton Rouge Animal Control and Rescue. "They've been here a while. They're urbanized. They're very wily, street smart. They are the ultimate predator, really, in an urban environment."
One user on Lost Pets of Baton Rouge reported seeing a coyote with a cat in its mouth on two different occasions this week. Both times were near Florida Boulevard and Old Hammond Highway. Another user posted a picture of a coyote walking down Glenmore Avenue in Mid-City.
According to Cole, the problem is not new and he's not surprised to hear of more sightings in the area. Coyotes are usually nocturnal, meaning they are only active at night.
"Bring your animals in at night and watch them during the day, the small ones, and take precautions," Cole advised.
Animal control offers humane box traps, if they confirm a coyote is being a nuisance, but the animal is often too smart to get caught in them.
"They will adapt. You cannot really resolve the problems because technically, as you remove one, another one takes its place," Cole explained.
Cole added coyotes are very difficult to deal with and it takes a specialized professional, sometimes even trappers. One professional trapper in the Baton Rouge area is Carter Lambert.
"One thing I have to keep in mind is, 'Is it a coyote that's being a nuisance or is it just a coyote being a coyote?'" Lambert said. "I can't just go out and kill any animal for being there."
Other common sense tips are don't leave food or trash in the open and control weeds and brush. Coyotes look for an easy meal, but they're not usually a threat to humans.
"Coyotes, they are a skittish animal. They never are going to come and go after an adult or large dog or anything like that. Like most wildlife, their instinct is to flee, not fight," Lambert added.
Coyotes are not native to Louisiana, but first started appearing in the state in the 1950s. Lambert said if you see one, make loud noises and sudden movements to scare it away.