Photo by Hillcrest Forest resident Shirley Bayles

So many coyotes and bobcats traipse through Hillcrest Forest that Bruce Wilke, president of the neighborhood association, tracks where they’ve been spotted.

Neighbors have observed coyotes on 15 occasions the past few years. Bobcats are even more popular — they’ve made roughly 29 appearances.

Courtesy of Bruce Wilke, president of Hillcrest Forest Neighborhood Association

“Judging from comments I’ve received, there are a few residents who are uneasy about the safety of their small pets, but the attitude of most residents seems to be that the bobcats and coyotes were here first, and it’s kind of cool that we live in a woodsy neighborhood where they are seen,” Wilke told the Advocate in an email.

If you are weary of your wild companions, we spoke to Brett Johnson, the City of Dallas’ urban biologist, about best practices when a coyote or bobcat transforms your yard into its regular hangout:

  • Coyotes typically don’t attack humans or large dogs, but don’t get too close. They shouldn’t be hand-fed.
  • Don’t back away from the animals, either.
  • These mammals aren’t meant to be comfortable around humans. If you see one, yell, make loud noises and sweeping motions.
  • Feeding animals outdoors attracts rodents. Since that’s a staple of both mammals’ diets, it’s best to feed your pets indoors.
  • Bird feeders also attract coyotes and bobcats’ prey. Leaving any food outside invites a new food chain into the area, Johnson explains.
  • Fence maintenance is key to preventing the mammals from entering yards in the first place.

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