Coyote Spotted


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Forest-CoyoteResidents of the Forest section who have been worried about the fox that has been seen on their side of town and their outdoor cats have something new to worry about tonight: a coyote. A Forest homeowner snapped this picture of a coyote in his backyard yesterday.

On its Web site, the New Jersey DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife calls this an Eastern coyote and says it can be found in all 21 counties of New Jersey. While coyote sightings are fairly common (we had one in Verona shortly after was started in December 2009), attacks on human are rare. Nor is it unusual to seem them in daylight at this time of year. This is when they are out foraging for food to sustain them through the colder months ahead, including rabbits, voles and mice.

But caution is still a good idea. This is a wild animal and not your neighbor’s dog, after all. To limit the coyote’s food options, keep the lids on your garbage cans on tight and don’t feed pets outside. And for the time being, it might be a good idea to keep outdoor cats inside.

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UPDATE: Several readers think that, rather than a coyote, this animal might be a fox with a bad case of mange. The parasitic skin disease can cause loss of fur, which could account for a fox losing its bushy tail. We can let nature take its course on this, or call Animal Control, which is handled out of Montclair. The number is 973-744-8600 and they are there Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. At other times, call the non-emergency number for the Verona Police, which is 973-239-5000.

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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected]


  1. That looks like a urban fox, suffering from a bad case a Mange, The way you can tell its a fox, it is between 14-20 inches in height, and has a long tail which is usually between 13-20 inches long, and has big ears. Coyotes are the size of medium to big dogs, and have shorter tails usually 12-16 inches tall

  2. I too think its a female fox. I have seen the red fox (which i think is a male) in my backyard (Howard Street) for several weeks. He makes a brief run through. I saw this one the other day. I’ve seen coyotes in the wild, and this does not look like one. This one is too small to be a coyote.

  3. Yes the small size and long tail definitely say fox. The red fox is quite common in our area but is stealthy and not often seen. Residents should not be concerned by the presence of a fox (they’ve been here all along) except one that might exhibit “unusual” behavior
    such as unsteady gait, approaching humans, etc. This concern would apply to any mammal encountered.

    Coyotes are also present in varying numbers throughout NJ–I’ve yet to see one in Essex but they are regular in Morris County. The eastern coyote is actually a coyote/wolf hybrid, but don’t let the wolf part scare you–coyotes pose little danger to humans, and generally do their best to avoid us. However, domestic dogs will react very noisily to their presence.

  4. Whether it’s a fox or a coyote, we’re keeping our cats inside. We spent a lot of money on vet services – twice – when one of our cats ‘defended’ her territory a couple years ago. She’s lucky to be alive!


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