Now it’s something else: Behold the zombie coyote.
According to ActionNewsJax, a Jacksonville neighborhood is on high alert after locals in the Ortega Park area spotted the painfully thin, frightful canine in search of food.
“I wasn’t sure what I saw, had no idea what it was,” resident Sharon Trigg told the media outlet. “Didn’t look like anything I have seen.”
Pictures of the animal were sent to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which confirmed the creature has sarcoptic mange, a highly contagious skin disease caused by mites that burrow in the skin and lay eggs.
“My biologists say it does look like the coyote has mange, a disease caused by various types of mites,” Karen Pocker, spokeswoman for FWC, told the Miami Herald. “Mange isn’t uncommon and since coyotes live in social groups, the disease can be transferred from one animal to another.”
OK, so these unfortunate animals are not the walking dead. They are sick, infected with this potentially life threatening condition, which causes hair loss, according to PetMD. Other symptoms are itchiness, a rash and crusty skin. If the mange spreads to other parts of the animal’s body, it can prove fatal.
“Don’t feed the animal and keep your pets, children and yourself away from the animal,” Pocker advised. “Pick up attractants in the area so the coyote doesn’t have easy access to food.”
So what will become of this coyote in distress?
Pocker added that no one from its organization would come out to help remove the animal, but residents can call a private nuisance wildlife trapper.
“They do not work for us and they will charge for their services, but they are available to come out and catch the animal,” Pocker said.
▪ To find a professional, FWC provides a list by county here.
▪ A guide to living with these so called urban coyotes is here