Most of my encounters with animals in the wild haven't scared me, but I had a huge chill run down my spine last night in Torrington. If you live along the Naugatuck River, I would keep an eye on your chickens and pets this week.

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I was out walking my dog last night around 8PM when a sharp scream from a small animal scared the hell out of me. It came from around 50-100 yards away along the riverbank, and then I saw the eyes in my flashlight. It was two coyotes, and they had just hunted down a poor rabbit. I have never seen a coyote before, but I sure heard them over the past few years.

According to ct.gov, coyotes first appeared in Northwest Connecticut during the 1950's, and have now expanded their range throughout our state. A typical coyote can weigh 30-50 pounds, and reach 4-5 feet from nose to tail. Over the past year, coyotes attacked a pair of dogs in Simsbury, and coyote warnings were issued in Madison, West Haven, and Glastonbury.

Should you be worried? If you own livestock, or leave your under 25 pound pet outside unsupervised, then yes. According to ct.gov, a coyote will eat your outdoor cat or smaller dog, as well as your mouse, rabbit, squirrel, pet woodchuck or deer. Chickens? Yeah, those too. And if you think your garbage is safe, think again, coyotes will eat some fruits and your table scraps too. They're fast, they can reach speeds of 25-40MPH.

If you hear yips, barks, howls, and squeals at dawn or dusk, make sure your pet is safely inside.

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