Coyotes are everywhere in Massachusetts except Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, and their numbers are about to multiply with coyote birthing season upon us.

The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife reports that "the eastern coyote resembles a medium-sized dog in body size and shape but has longer, denser fur and pointed erect ears. The tail is long, black-tipped, and bushy."

The site says, "The typical coat color is a grizzled gray but can vary from a creamy blonde to red or nearly solid black."

Mass Audubon says, "In Massachusetts, breeding takes place in February. During March, coyotes seek out and excavate their den sites. In April, after a 60 - 65 day gestation period, the female gives birth to four to seven pups."

Coyote attacks on humans in Massachusetts are rare, but you should never try to approach it or its pups.

The Massachusetts Coyote Population About To Explode
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Never leave small cats and dogs unattended outdoors, and when walking your pet in coyote-prone areas, leash them.

Animal experts warn against leaving food outside and not feeding the coyotes. Keep pet food indoors, pick up fallen fruit from backyard trees, and keep the trash can lids tight.

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Mass Audubon says a sick or injured coyote can be "unpredictable and dangerous," especially those susceptible to the rabies virus."

The Division of Fisheries and Wildlife has prepared the fact sheet "Living With Wildlife Eastern Coyotes in Massachusetts with answers to questions about the creatures.

Coyotes are regularly spotted throughout the New Bedford and Fall River areas and have become less intimidated by humans.

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