Jim Granite shot this picture of Longboat's illusive coyote from about 20 yards away on the Resort Longboat Key Club's Harbourside golf course.
We got another one.
There have been at least 19 coyote sightings on Longboat Key since July 16, police say. But the number is higher than that. Anecdotal reports number in the dozens — it seems a day doesn't pass when the newsroom phone doesn't ring with a call about this elusive coyote.
Here's one we got from Jim Granite: "He's a healthy-looking male," he said of the animal he spotted on the first hole of the Blue course on the Longboat Key Club's Harbourside course. All reports of the animal seem consistent enough to convince police that it's just one coyote rather than a band of them.
This sighting is just in time for the town's Thursday public workshop with state wildlife officials on the coyote. It's planned for 1 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 30 at Town Hall, 501 Bay Isles Road.
Coyotes are typically timid, curious animals that rarely pose a threat to humans, especially adults, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission says. They're found all over Florida, sometimes in inhabited areas, where they eat rodents, raccoons and opossums.
While coyotes don't pose much of a threat to humans, they can and will attack house pets. They typically attack either at night or in the dawn and dusk hours, FWC says, and usually only when the pet is unattended.
If threatened by a coyote, FWC recommends making a lot of noise and waiving your arms. Make aggressive movements and throw sticks and stones toward, but not at, the coyote— that should scare it off, FWC says. If that doesn't work, and the animal makes a move toward a child or pet, a shout and a small charge should do the trick.
It's ineffective and inefficient to remove coyotes from a location, FWC says — they'll just come back. They go where the food is, and according to Granite, this one is getting a lot. They're opportunistic eaters, consuming everything from rabbits and lizards to grasses and berries.
Coyotes play an important role in the ecosystem, keeping populations of rodents and small predators in control, FWC says.
While its unclear how the coyote made its way to the island, there are few possibilities: it could have walked across either the south or north end bridge from City Island or Coquina Beach. It also could have swum — coyotes swim well, the College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry says.
Longboat Key his home to all kinds of wildlife, including bald eagles, spotted on the island last fall, sea turtles, manatees and dolphins.