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16-year-old bitten by coyote

8:58 PM, Sep 26, 2011   |    comments
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This year alone there have been four reported coyote attacks on humans. That's up by one from the year before.

The most recent attack involved a 16-year-old girl from Castle Rock.

"It was a crazy experience," said Heather McDonald.

McDonald had just finished celebrating homecoming with her boyfriend. After the big night, the couple decided to lounge around in the field in back of McDonald's home.

Out of the corner of McDonald's eye she happened to notice something that resembled a dog walking toward her. She didn't quite know what to do.

"It was really fluffy. It looked like a small dog," she said.
When she realized what it was, she panicked. She stood up and turned to the side, only to find the coyote snapping at her.

"It bit me. On my butt," McDonald laughed. "I held still so it wouldn't attack me or anything, but it came up and bit my butt."

It's not uncommon for a coyote to go after a person's mid section. After all, they're not large creatures.

"Counting coyotes would probably be like trying to count squirrels," said Jennifer Churchill, a spokesperson for Colorado Parks & Wildlife.

Churchill says more and more coyotes are popping up in more urban areas for a few reasons.

"Our coyotes in the metro area are very comfortable with people. I think they're very habituated and very successful in metro areas because they're finding everything they need," she explained.

Churchill says that includes food, water, shelter and space.

"I think the fifth element for these coyotes is the fact that people tolerate them," she added.

In a place like Colorado, we're bound to run in to all sorts of creatures. The most important thing according to wildlife officials is to make sure they're afraid of you.

"Try and make a lot of noise when you're around them," Churchill said.

Coyotes exist in every state in America, except for Hawaii.

If you're bit by one you should see a doctor immediately, just in case the animal has rabies.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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