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Texas coyote incidents

In a series of unsettling events at Parkway Central Park in Arlington, Texas, three children were attacked over the course of a week by what officials believe was the same coyote. The incidents, which occurred on separate days, prompted a swift response from local authorities and wildlife experts. The city of Arlington has announced that the coyote, captured within the park’s boundaries, has tested negative for rabies, alleviating some concerns regarding the potential health risks to the victims.

Timeline of Events

The sequence of attacks began last Saturday, with two subsequent attacks following closely on Tuesday and Wednesday. Each incident involved a child being bitten by the coyote in or near Parkway Central Park, which is situated adjacent to Jones Academy, a renowned fine arts and dual-language school within the Arlington Independent School District. The victims of these attacks received prompt medical treatment and were subsequently released from the hospital, fortunately bearing no severe injuries.

Following the attacks, Arlington city officials, in collaboration with Arlington Police Department and Arlington Animal Services, launched an operation to locate and capture the coyote. The operation concluded successfully on Thursday morning when a coyote was caught inside the park at approximately 7:30 a.m., utilizing a non-lethal baton round. Despite the successful capture and euthanization of the coyote, which was later confirmed to be rabies-free by Texas Health and Human Services in Austin, authorities remain cautious.

Additional Coyote Sightings and Precautions

In the wake of the initial capture, two additional coyotes were spotted in the vicinity of Parkway Central Park early Friday morning. The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Wildlife Services conducted an overnight survey of the area. While these coyotes were observed outside the park premises and displayed no aggressive behavior, the sightings have led to ongoing vigilance by USDA staff. Officials have stated that these additional coyotes do not currently pose a threat to public safety.

Park Closure and Community Response

As a precautionary measure, Parkway Central Park will be temporarily closed to the public until Tuesday, February 20th. This decision, made out of an abundance of caution, aims to ensure the safety of park visitors and the local community while authorities assess and address the situation.

Sgt. Eric Belisle of the Arlington Police Department described the behavior of the captured coyote as “very unusual,” noting the aggressive charge towards officers during the capture operation—a rare behavior that underscores the unpredictability of wildlife interactions in urban settings.

As the community of Arlington navigates this challenging situation, the collective efforts of city officials, law enforcement, wildlife experts, and residents are crucial in ensuring public safety while coexisting with local wildlife.

Self-Defense Strategies and Tools for Urban Wildlife Encounters

Urban wildlife encounters, while relatively rare, can pose significant risks if not handled properly. In light of the recent coyote incidents in Arlington, Texas, understanding self-defense strategies and tools becomes essential for ensuring personal safety. Here are some practical tips and recommended self-defense tools to help you navigate potential wildlife encounters safely:

Self-Defense Strategies:

  1. Maintain Awareness: Always be conscious of your environment, especially in areas known for wildlife activity. Avoid using headphones or anything that might reduce your ability to hear an approaching animal.

  2. Do Not Run: If you encounter a coyote or other potentially aggressive wildlife, resist the instinct to run away. Running may trigger the animal’s chase instinct. Instead, stand your ground, make yourself appear larger by raising your arms, and make loud noises to scare the animal away.

  3. Back Away Slowly: Slowly and calmly back away from the animal if it does not immediately flee. Maintain eye contact and do not turn your back on the wildlife.

  4. Protect Children and Pets: In the presence of potential danger, pick up small children and pets immediately. They are more vulnerable during wildlife encounters.

  5. Report Sightings: Report any sightings of aggressive or unusually behaving wildlife to local authorities or wildlife services immediately.


Recommended Self-Defense Tools:

  1. Pepper Spray: While commonly associated with self-defense against human assailants, pepper spray can also be effective against wildlife. Ensure you choose a product specifically designed for use against animals, as these formulations are more appropriate for deterring aggressive wildlife behavior.

  2. Air Horns: Carrying a compact air horn can be an effective way to scare off wildlife. The loud noise is startling and may deter an animal from approaching.

  3. Walking Sticks or Umbrellas: Having a walking stick, umbrella, or similar object can help create a barrier between you and the animal. These can also be used to make yourself appear larger and more intimidating.

  4. Personal Alarms: Similar to air horns, personal alarms emit a loud sound that can deter wildlife. These devices are small, easily carried, and can be activated quickly.


Legal and Ethical Considerations:

When selecting and carrying self-defense tools, it’s crucial to be mindful of legal restrictions and ethical considerations. Always prioritize non-lethal deterrence methods and use force only as a last resort when safety is directly threatened. Understanding local wildlife protection laws and regulations is essential to ensure that your actions remain within legal bounds while protecting yourself and your loved ones.


The key to safely navigating urban wildlife encounters lies in preparedness, awareness, and the judicious use of self-defense strategies and tools. By equipping yourself with knowledge and the appropriate tools, you can significantly reduce the risk posed by wildlife while respecting the natural environment. Remember, the goal is always to avoid conflict and ensure safety for both humans and animals alike.

As always, be safe and be prepared.


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