A neighborhood in Scottsdale, Arizona, is on high alert after a coyote attacked two toddlers there last week in separate incidents. The first attack occurred on March 18, when a one-year-old boy was tackled by a coyote at a playground in Aztec Park. The second incident occurred the following day and involved another one-year-old boy. Both attacks occurred within half a mile of each other in broad daylight, and the toddlers survived each incident without suffering any major injuries.
The mid-day coyote attack on March 19 was caught on a home surveillance camera. Ring camera footage shows a mother and her 21-month-old son walking down their driveway. The toddler lags behind the mother, giving the waiting coyote a perfect opportunity to pounce from its hiding place in the bushes.
“We were walking through the driveway and our son was trailing behind us, and out of nowhere, a coyote tackled him, and grabbed his arm and took him to the ground,” Jeff McAlister, the boy’s father, explained to Fox-10 TV in Phoenix. “He screamed and we came back, picked him up, the coyote ran away, and we took him away.”
Near the end of the video, the coyote can be seen returning to the driveway and looking around. McAlister said he took his son to a local hospital, where the boy was cleared by doctors. Because he was bitten on the arm by the coyote, the boy also received a round of rabies shots.
Wildlife officials with the Arizona Department of Game and Fish believe the same coyote was responsible for both attacks. Officials have been trying to trap and euthanize the animal, but they have so far been unsuccessful and are asking for the public’s help.
Officials say they haven’t recorded a coyote attack on humans in the area since 2017. They believe the two incidents were a result of the coyote becoming habituated to humans, explaining that the wild animal “shows little fear of people and may have been illegally fed in the past.”
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The agency’s explanation conforms with what we already know about why coyotes attack humans. These attacks typically involve toddlers and other small children because children are more manageable prey than adults. Running and other play behaviors can also trigger a coyote’s natural instinct to pursue prey.
Urban coyotes, like the one that attacked two toddlers in Scottsdale last week, are also more of a risk to humans than rural coyotes. These urban coyotes are typically bolder than their rural counterparts, and they often associate humans with food sources, which can lead to coyote attacks.