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Rice University warns students about coyote sightings on campus

HOUSTON – Reports of coyote sightings around the city limits have increased.

There’s been reports of coyotes in the Sugarland, Katy and now, the campus of Rice University.

“We’re really close to downtown, so I don’t know how they got here,” said Rice University senior, Naod Araya.

The Rice University Police Department released a warning to the campus community about several sightings.

The locations listed include Kraft Hall, the North Annex lot near the Rice Boulevard crossing point at Gate 2, in the North Colleges area and near Sewell Hall.

“I would not be prepared at all if it was actually in front of me or something,” Araya said.

The campus email also included helpful tips in case there was an encounter with a coyote:

• Do not run away from or turn your back on a coyote. It could trigger the coyote’s instinct to give chase.

• Be especially aware when walking your dog or jogging around sunrise and sunset. These are the times of day when coyotes are most active.

• Keep dogs on short leashes while walking outside; wildlife authorities recommend a leash no longer than 6 feet. This tip is especially important between February and July because that is pupping season, a time of year when coyotes are more territorial. That doesn’t change how coyotes act towards humans, but at this time of year a coyote is least likely to run from a loose dog and more likely to stand its ground.

• Never feed coyotes. Feeding coyotes endangers residents in your community because it lures mores coyotes into the neighborhood.

• Yell, clap your hands, blow a whistle and try to make yourself look larger if you have a close encounter with a coyote.

• Do not allow a coyote to get in between you or your pet or child. Keep children close to you.

• Whenever it is safe to do so, alert RUPD by calling 713-348-6000, or ext. 6000 from a campus phone if you see a coyote.

RUPD will notify animal control authorities with the city and county and seek to learn if there have been other reports of coyotes in the area.

Freshman student Javier Elizondo said he had not seen any coyotes on campus and didn’t necessarily worry about his safety when on campus.

“I particularly worry about the people walking in the morning with their pets, people with little kids," Elizondo said.

Here’s RUPD’s full email about the sightings:

“For the many Rice neighbors who walk with their family members and pets on and around the Rice campus, we write to share this recent alert from the Rice University Police Department: RUPD has received multiple reports of coyote sightings at various locations around campus, including near Kraft Hall, at the North Annex Lot near the popular Rice Boulevard crossing point at Gate 20, in the North Colleges area and near Sewall Hall. In most cases, coyotes pose very little threat to people, and there have been no reports of any attacks or aggression on the part of the coyote.”