JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A large coyote was caught on camera Tuesday morning turning a backyard patio near Baymeadows into its own hangout area.
Homeowner Gene Hodges looked out his back window about 11 a.m. and spotted something he had never seen up-close.
"A big animal and it wasn't a dog," Hodges told News4Jax. "A coyote. The coyote was here, just making residence here."
Hodges and his wife moved to a home near Jacksonville's Baymeadows area about three months ago, but they're only now learning from neighbors that coyote sightings in the neighborhood are common.
Hodges had reservations about stepping out onto his patio to scare the wild animal off their property, not knowing what could happen.
"We didn't know if it had rabies. Was it well? Had it attacked a kid or another animal here?" Hodges said.
While the coyote was in Hodges' backyard, a small child was playing on the cul-de-sac.
"His dad was out there, but they didn't know this," Hodges said. "He was making circles in the street, learning to ride a two-wheeler, and this could have been a dangerous situation."
The coyote stayed on Hodges' back patio for several hours. At one point, video shows the animal getting close enough to receive a staredown from the family cat that was looking out the back window.
Not knowing what to do, Hodges decided to call animal control, but said he was told there was a process he had to go through before an officer could come out.
"I don't want people to think I'm a griper, or trying to put the agencies down, but it seems there could be some coverage where people can call," Hodges said. "I don't think it would take that much for someone to come out here."
Calling animal control to deal with an animal issue on your property can be a process. First, you have to go through several minutes of automated prompts and then you still have to wait for someone to actually pick up the line.
It's actually easier to call a wildlife professional service to come out and remove the animal, but just remember that service is not free.
On Monday night, a coyote was seen hanging out in a backyard behind the Preserve condos off Old Kings Road -- just a few miles away from where the coyote was spotted Tuesday.
The man who lives at the Preserve said his home is behind of the dumpsters of the condo complex, and he has seen the coyote walking around that area before.