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Coyote roaming East Arlington neighborhood

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A coyote roaming through the McCormick Woods neighborhood in East Arlington is causing concern for some residents.

One viewer sent surveillance videos to News4Jax showing a coyote trotting down the street at night.

The viewer, Robert McNeal, said the female coyote appears to have several pups. He said the coyotes seem to be living in a small patch of woods or wetland behind the homes in the neighborhood.

Robert McNeal's wife, Diana McNeal, said she came face to face with the mother coyote while she was taking out the trash.

"At first it shocked me. I never expected her to be out here," Diana McNeal said.

She said the unsettling sight explained the strange disappearance of ducks and other wildlife in the area, and the scurrying and howling sounds she'd been hearing in the neighborhood.

"At first I thought it might be dogs, but as soon as they start into their howling, you know it's not dogs," Diana McNeal said.

Diana McNeal said she doesn't want any children in the neighborhood to get hurt.

"It's just really scary because we have so many kids out here that play at night, and it's a scary thought that she was just walking down the road," she said. "Before they were staying the woods, and that's fine, but with them getting so brave and coming out where kids may be is just really concerning."

Florida Fish and Wildlife doesn't handle coyotes, but officials suggested hiring a trapper to come and get the animals. Diana McNeal said as long as they don't bother anyone, she's OK, but she wanted people in the area to be on the lookout.

FWC officials said if residents see a coyote in their neighborhood, they shouldn't approach it. Coyotes are typically scared of humans but it's wise to go inside and wait for the animal to leave.

Officials also said pets should not roam freely around the neighborhood, because they could be in danger, and residents should not feed coyotes or leave food around their homes.