Beep beep! Wandering coyotes had Columbia University students running off the roads and into their dorm rooms this weekend as three mangy mutts caused a campus-wide scare.
The school's administration sent out an e-mail alert to students and faculty after three aimless coyotes showed up on the campus Sunday morning. Someone called 911 after spotting the coyotes in front of a campus building, and cops saw one of them as it ambled off the property, authorities said.
Although coyotes aren't as vicious as often depicted, Columbia warned its students and staff "not to approach these animals."
Later, park-goers saw another coyote milling about in Central Park – and the public emergence of the carnivorous dogs has some New Yorkers running scared.
Wildlife experts say the animals are turning up in public because they have nowhere else to go. Overpopulation forces many out of their homes and into big city environments, where the lack of habitat could push them onto the streets and into city parks. One expert says we can expect to see even more coyotes roaming around in New York.
"It's not uncommon at all, and it's going to increase in frequency," Dr. Stanley Gehrt of Ohio State University told The New York Post. "They're pushing themselves into the city, and what they found in the city is that life isn't so bad."