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.

Copyright 2020 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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(5) comments


I'm concerned about the safety of the coyote and anything or anyone else out there wandering around who might step into one of these. There may be more out there.


We hear them yipping at night all the time. It's kinda cool (in a creepy sort of way). Our cats have never seen the outdoors, and trust me, they are happy little Queens of the castle. :-) The coyote shown is clearly suffering. It is emaciated (hard to hunt with metal teeth in its leg) and in obvious pain. Horrible what people do. I hope officials can catch/sedate the animal and remove the trap........or worst case scenario..........permanently relieve his/her suffering. Poor thing. :-(


I saw 2 gradually walking thru my neighbor's back yard in Chicopee. I only noticed them cuz my pomchi (thinks she is a pitbull lol) was barking like crazy @ them with only a chicken wire fence separating our yards! As I ran to go grab my pooch, I was shocked to see they just stared at her with no intent on going after her! We got back inside safely! Phew! [scared]


We see them in our Chicopee neighborhood on a regular basis. They certainly don't seem bothered by the presence of humans.


Terrible to see an animal suffer.

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