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Pack of Coyotes Spotted in Germantown

While having breakfast Tuesday morning, Jim Williams and his daughter Christina had an Animal Planet moment as they witnessed a pack of three coyotes chase a fox through their backyard in the Woodcliffe Park neighborhood of Germantown.

Williams told the Germantown Pulse that it was his daughter that alerted him to the Wild Kingdom happening in their back yard as she spotted a fox run through their yard on Gate Dancer Lane. As he turned to get a look at the fox, a pack of three coyotes came running through his yard after the fox. Williams said his house backs up to a large wooded area which is between his street and the Maryland SoccerPlex.

“We’ve lived here for 18 years, and we’ve seen a lot of wildlife from foxes to deer and geese, but this is the first time I’ve seen a coyote,” said Jim Williams. He said that he has seen foxes in his yard before, but he’d never seen one moving this fast. “It was really moving when it came through the yard this morning, but he was really moving this morning. The shock was seeing the three coyotes. At first, I thought they were dogs, and then I realized — those are coyotes. It was kind of cool, to watch. They were working as a team as the three of them walked through the woods after the fox.”

Williams said he’d heard tales from other neighbors of seeing coyotes in the area over the years, but he’s never seen one. He said that he called Montgomery County Animal Control. However, there is not much that can be done unless or until an animal becomes a threat to humans or pets.

According to the Montgomery County Parks Department website, coyotes have been present in Montgomery County since the late 1980’s, but “sightings have increased noticeably in the past five years indicating that coyotes have become established and are now part of our local fauna.”

Coyotes are medium-sized members of the dog family resembling a small German Shepard Dog with a long slender snout and erect pointed ears. Their long, thick fur can make them look larger than they actually are. Average weight in the east is about 35 pounds, which is about 10 pounds heavier than their Midwestern cousins.

“Suburban development with nicely landscaped yards and golf courses, abundant open space and parks, and a mix of agriculture is ideal habitat for many wildlife species, especially the adaptable coyote,” according to Montgomery County Parks website, and it offers some tips for living with coyotes to minimize conflicts.