Several news sources have reported an uptick in coyotes in the Lakeside area.
The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) confirmed that they’ve had previous reports of coyotes in Lakeside and emphasized that coyotes can be found all over the Commonwealth. Lieutenant Shawn Sears, with Henrico Animal Control for 21 years, said that sightings in Lakeside have been reported, but none are confirmed, and there have been no incident reports.
In the past few weeks residents reported seeing them on Ingleside Avenue, Penick Road, Fernwood Street, Dellwood Street, Woodman Road and near Glenside Avenue and Staples Mill. Going back a few months, the roaming animals were reported seen off Hilliard Road, Wilmington Avenue and near the entrance to Bryan Park, at Parkway and Westlake. Lt. Sears said that along Interstate 295 and Route 1 in Glen Allen is a popular place for coyotes, as well as part of east Henrico and Short Pump.
Coyotes in suburban and even urban areas are more common than most people realize. They tend to follow food sources. Trash, pet food left outside, rodents and other small creatures are all a meal for these wild animals.
In 2011 after a marked increase in coyote sightings the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries launched a four-year study.
Although they are found state-wide, coyotes are a relative new-comer to Virginia. Coyotes are native to the plains of the Midwest, but they eventually arrived in the western mountains of Virginia during the late 1970’s following a well-documented eastward expansion. Coyotes prefer hilly terrain with open or brushy habitat, but they are also a highly adaptable species. Their numbers quickly increased and coyotes soon became firmly established in every county of the Commonwealth.
The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has a few more pieces of advice on dealing with coyotes on their website but their number one piece of advice is to remove their food source.