A coyote that wandered into a Vista neighborhood and attacked a man and his dog last week probably didn't wander into town from the wild, but is probably part of pack of "urban coyotes," officials told the North County Times.
Sheriff's deputies responded on Friday just before 8:30 p.m. to a coyote attack on Bonair Road in Vista, the paper reports. The man did not have any injuries, but his dog was rushed to a local animal hospital, the NCT said.
After a through search of the neighborhood, Sheriff's deputies told the NCT the coyote was not found.
Animal experts say coyotes can live among us without us ever seeing them.
"They can be elusive, and they can live for years in neighborhoods," said Kevin Brennan, a state Fish and Game wildlife biologist of urban coyotes. "We can't predict when their behavior changes, and when it does, there’s not a lot we can do."
Researchers believe there as many as 12 coyotes per square mile living in North County, the paper said.
"One of the common misconceptions that people have is that coyotes are coming out of the hillsides into the neighborhoods, but it's almost the other way around," Brennan said. "They have a lot of food ---- more cats ---- and no natural predators keeping their numbers under control, so they flourish in urban settings.
Brennan said attacks on people are rare. He added that once they become a problem, there is nothing authorities can do to change their behavior, they must trap or kill the animal.