NORTHAMPTON, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - You may have noticed or heard that more coyotes out and about around western Mass recently.
That’s because it’s breeding season, but a photo of one coyote is circulating on social media and really grabbing people’s attention.
This picture is taking Facebook by storm, showing a coyote from the Florence area walking through the woods with a trap on its leg, a trap that has been illegal in Massachusetts since 1975.
Regional scientist at Mass Audubon Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary, Tom Lautzenheister, tells Western Mass News that these traps are cruel.
"The animals suffer distress and don’t die immediately," explained Lautzenheister.
He says it is coyote breeding season right now and more are roaming the woods in western Mass.
"We’ve had a very low snow Winter so we haven’t seen coyote tracks all over the place, so a typical Winter, you usually see tracks so they’re definitely around," stated Lautzenheister.
Lautzenheiser says instead of traps, there are other easy ways to keep coyotes away from your house.
"Keep your house cats indoors. If people let their pet cats outside, those can be considered prey by coyotes," said Lautzenheister.
Officials say people can mistakenly attract coyotes by leaving their pet's food outside, so it is important to feed your pets inside.
Lautzenheiser says there are videos that circulate of coyotes attacking pets and people, but those cases in this area are rare.
"Making a lot of noise can scare them off, making yourself seem big, but those kinds of interactions are so infrequent. Coyotes are just trying to do their thing. They’re not really out to get people," added Lautzenheister.