ST. PETERSBURG - The St. Petersburg Police Department shared a video taken by an officer on its Facebook page Thursday afternoon of coyotes roaming near 76th Avenue North and First Street N.
The department shared the video to encourage residents to keep their pets indoors and to not leave pet food outside. They said the coyotes do not pose a threat to residents, but potentially to their furry friends.
"They're known to kill cats," department spokeswoman Sam Williams said. "This was more of a warning for people's pets."
The Facebook post says another coyote was spotted the same night near 94th Avenue North and Dr. MLK Jr. Street, as well as two older ones seen near 62nd Avenue North and 1st Street N.
Coyotes sightings are nothing new in Pinellas County. There was even a website created by the county that used to track sightings up until 2015.
"They are here to stay in Pinellas County," the site reads.
The Florida Wildlife Commission has tips on its website for how to protect small pets from coyotes, as well as how to deter them whenever they're spotted.
To scare away a coyote in an encounter, the site says to wave your arms and yell, use noisemakers, throw stones and sticks or spray them with a hose. Running from a coyote will cause it to chase.
To keep small pets safe from coyotes at all times, the agency says its best to keep all cats indoors, walk small dogs on a short leash and to have fences that are at least 6 feet high, that way coyotes cannot jump over them. It also says to regularly check for holes dug under fences.
Angeline Scotten, a biologist with the FWC, told Pinellas County commissioners in 2015 that the most complaints about coyotes in her 12-county area come from Pinellas, the state's most densely populated county.
In addition to being undeterred by civilization, Scotten said coyotes are too smart to trap, are highly adaptable, will eat anything, can live anywhere and reproduce at an impressively high rate.
"There is no way to get rid of them," she said then.