Growing concern over coyotes roaming NYC's streets

More coyotes spotted in urban jungle of NYC 03:42

Coyotes live all across North America, but in recent years they've migrated outside their normal habitats into new ones. Now, new concerns are brewing over the wild animals adapting to the urban jungles of Manhattan, CBS News' Michelle Miller reports.

Wildlife officials have clocked an alarming number of sightings in New York City's boroughs. They've scampered across roofs, roamed through streets and even evaded the nation's largest police force, which searched by air and ground.

"We have been encroaching into the natural habitat, so these opportunists, coyotes, have been looking for other sources of prey that is natural to them," Animal Planet predator expert Dave Salmoni said.

He said coyotes are becoming less afraid of humans.

"Generally speaking, I would say a coyote is a very low-risk animal for people. Coyotes are very nervous, and they're skittish," Salmoni said.

In neighboring New Jersey, the most densely populated state, residents are worried after a man was attacked on Sunday while walking his dog.

Nancy Balian-Tedona snapped a photo of a coyote Wednesday while on the way to her son's preschool.

"I thought it was a dog crossing the road, and I looked again and said 'No, this is the coyote,'" she said.

Norwood, New Jersey, Police Chief Jeff Krapels was part of a search team Wednesday.

"When my officers arrived, the coyote started chewing on the tires of the police car," Krapels said.

He said they captured one coyote but were still looking for a second.

Adding further to the fears of anxious residents, that captured coyote tested positive for rabies.

"The ones that are sick and the ones that are aggressive are the ones we are concerned about," Krapels said.

The coyote spotted in Manhattan still remains at large. Wildlife officials believe it was healthy and likely retreated back to its den. One animal expert told CBS News the risk of being killed by a coyote was about equal to being killed by a vending machine.