Police catch coyote in Philadelphia's Mayfair neighborhood

Police in Philadelphia’s 15th District said on social media Monday that they caught a coyote — an animal increasingly seen in suburban communities, but not so much in cities — in Mayfair, a decidedly urban part of the city.

A spokeswoman for the department confirmed that a coyote was caught, but had no additional information other than the animal was found roaming on the 4200 block of Greeby Street in Mayfair, between Vogt Park and Roosevelt Playground, about a mile and a half from Pennypack Park.

The animal was turned over to rangers from the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.

>>UPDATE: The coyote has been released in Pennypack Park

Jennifer Crandall, a spokeswoman for the Parks and Recreation Department, said the animal was then given to the state’s Game Commission.  Crandall did not know the coyote’s current location or condition.  A commission spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

Last year, the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education in Upper Roxborough reported tracks on the grounds.   And authorities in Lower Merion on the Main Line warned residents last year to look out for their pets after coyotes were spotted within township borders.

Coyotes in this region are generally Eastern coyotes, which some label a coywolf.  It’s a hybrid of a coyote, wolf, and dog.  Coyotes have been spotted in suburbs for a number of years, but sightings within the city’s borders are more recent.

The animals feed on mice, voles, rabbits, and woodchucks, so Pennypack Park could be a good feeding ground.

However, coyotes are shy and normally avoid people.  So finding one in daylight in an urban area is unusual.

The Eastern coyote made its way down from Canada about 20 or 25 years ago.  Pennsylvania Game Commission literature says adult male coyotes in the state weigh around 45 to 55 pounds and females 35 to 40 pounds. Body lengths range from 48 to 60 inches, with fur ranging from gray to something like a German shepherd’s. Their legs are gray, tan, and reddish, often with black lines down the front. They have erect ears and a bottle-brush tail, usually kept in a downward position. Their eyes are typically yellow.