BY CHRISTIANNA CASALETTO // OCT. 24, 2016 //
It’s a dog eat dog world, but what happens when a coyote joins the mix?
The world’s most famous coyote, Wile E. of Looney Tunes fame, has spent nearly 70 years futilely chasing the ever-elusive Road Runner. But for the past few weeks, a real-life coyote has kept Curry College Public Safety and Mass Environmental Police Officers (MEP) on their toes.
The coyote is believed to have strayed from the Blue Hills reservation in search of food.
Interim Public Safety Director Paul L’Italien contacted the MEP who explained that if the coyote poses a threat to humans or doesn’t go away after a certain while, they’ll need to call someone in to trap it.
However, Public Safety Officer Mackenzie Slocumb assures that the sighting isn’t out of the ordinary, saying, “All of the animals are coming out to get their food for hibernation.”
In addition to the coyote, an abundance of deer, turkeys, rabbits, and raccoons have been seen around campus. “These are creatures coyotes like to eat,” said Slocumb.
According to MassWildlife, a coyote can be identified by its long, bushy, black-tipped tail that is usually pointing downwards. They are typically as big as a medium sized dog, but don’t get this predator mistaken for your house-hold pet.
Junior nursing major Shauna Nickerson thought exactly that when she first saw the coyote while exiting campus by green, gray, and brown houses; “I saw what I thought was a stray dog,” she said.
Nickerson was planning on calling the “dog” over until a friend advised otherwise.
“I didn’t even know there was a coyote on campus until I saw it,” Nickerson said.
Seeing a coyote in suburban areas isn’t out of the ordinary. MassWildlife explains that because of expansion of communities into wildlife territory, coyotes have adapted these changes. Therefore, most Massachusetts citizens live in close proximity to coyotes.
For some, the chance to see new wildlife in such close quarters is thrilling.
“I’m very excited about it,” says Chris Landy, a sophomore communication major. “It’s something new, it’s different. We live in the middle of the woods and it’s common to see wildlife but a coyote is a little bit scarier than a raccoon or a deer.”
Coyote attacks on people are very rare. According to The Humane Society of the United States, more people are killed by errant golf balls and flying champagne corks each year than are bitten by coyotes. And when a human has been bitten or attacked by a coyote, it was because they were hand feeding or provoking the animal.
“I [still] wouldn’t go near it…but that’s my main concern; that someone could get hurt,” Landy added.
The easiest ways to avoid conflict with a coyote is to not have unsecure garbage, not feed or try to pet it, and not let it intimidate you.
Mass Environmental Police have warned members of the Curry community to avoid the coyote and refrain from provoking or approaching it. However, if the coyote does approach you it can be scared away by throwing rocks, making loud noises, or beeping your car horn (if applicable).
The most common time the coyote is out is around dusk and late night; although it has been seen midafternoon.
Martina Scott, a freshman nursing major says she’s been aware of the coyote on campus but hasn’t seen it. “I would probably be very concerned if I saw it but since I haven’t, I haven’t really thought about it.”
Junior community health and wellness major Sinead McGrath has a similar opinion, adding the coyote doesn’t seem to be posing any kind of threat.
“I was driving onto campus [around 10 or 11 p.m.] and it was crossing the street and it just kind of ran away from me so it’s not scary.”
Campus is in the middle of the Blue Hills Reservation, so living amongst the various wildlife in the area is something all Colonels need to adjust to.
“It’s mother nature doing its thing, we just have to live with it,” says Officer Slocumb.
Public Safety has publicly addressed the matter on their Twitter and Facebook accounts and will continue to update as details develop.
If you see a Coyote and feel threatened in anyway call Public Safety at (617) 333-2222.