Most people don't think of coyotes as animals living in this part of the country, but apparently enough of them do that at least two towns have issued warnings about their presence.
Green Tree was the latest to post a notice after reported coyote sightings last week in the borough.
"I can't say we had a lot of calls, but it appears to have increased lately," said Green Tree manager David Montz, who remembered learning of a similar incident in his town 10 years ago.
The borough decided to post an alert at www.greentree.com, after a resident asked for information about coyotes and tips on how to keep them away. Mr. Montz said that he also contacted Mt. Lebanon Deputy Chief Aaron Lauth.
On Jan. 11, Mt. Lebanon issued an alert about coyotes at mtlebanonpd.org.
Sightings also have been reported along Interstate 79 in the Carnegie, Pennsbury and Robinson area, too. However, no incidents involving coyotes are on record.
"We do have coyotes. They have been here. It's not necessarily a new thing. We haven't had any issues or incidents," Deputy Chief Lauth said.
He added that the sighting of a coyote with an injured leg in the Bird Park/Cedar Boulevard area in Mt. Lebanon made police aware of the animal's presence. However, there have been no reported incidents.
Coyotes, which are part of the canine family, average 40-60 pounds and have heavy multi-colored coats, large pointed ears and long bushy tails. Though they resemble wolves, they are smaller and most active at night and early morning.
Their appetites vary from small insects to rodents to livestock, but they will prey on rabbits, cats and small dogs when desperate.
Officials suggest the best ways to discourage coyotes from coming into neighborhoods are to seal garbage cans, remove spilled bird seed or pet food from yards, keep pets fenced in or in covered kennels, stay with your pets and don't let them run loose.
To frighten coyotes, make loud noises or throw objects like rocks at them. Never turn your back on them either, officials said.
Carole Gilbert Brown, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.