Coyote Sightings on the Rise in San Jose? Maybe Not

An apparent rise in the number of coyote sightings has some South Bay residents on edge, but animal control officials say there's nothing abnormal or alarming about the number of reports.

In a San Jose neighborhood, near the Los Gatos border, a coyote was seen roaming unafraid, and people in the area say they're seeing more of them than ever before.

Michaela Zitzer saw one last week.

"I've seen one up in the woods before, but seeing it here kind of frightened me," Zitzer said.

An image of a coyote recently posted to social media was taken in the same spot where a cat was killed in January. Another post warned people the old fashioned way, with a handwritten sign.

"It was bigger than I expected, seeing it in person," Zitzer said. "Those eyes, you see them glisten, and you're just not expecting to see that on your drive home."

Resident Eiko Ando said "I see posts every year, but this year has been a lot more than normal."

The Santa Clara County Vector Control receives about 190 calls concerning coyotes each year and said this year is about average.

"The numbers are about the same they've been for the past few years," said Peter Gotcher, wildlife specialist. "What’s changed really is people’s perception."

Gotcher said better surveillance technology and social media shares mean everyone knows about a sighting.

"In the old days, people had security cameras, but they would never check the footage unless someone broke into their house," he said. "But now these new systems alert people to their phones 24/7 whenever somebody is walking by."

Still, many small pet owners in the neighborhood are keeping them inside and in sight.

"As soon as I saw that sign, I thought, 'Oh we're never going to let them out by themselves,'" Ando said.

Animal experts say the sightings are a good reminder to not leave any food outdoors to attract coyotes, and keep landscape trimmed, so coyotes can't hide in it.

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