The coyote that attacked a 77-year-old New Jersey man as he was working in his yard earlier this week was rabid, officials have determined.
The female coyote, which was eventually tracked down and euthanized after the attack in Saddle River Monday morning, tested positive for rabies, according to the New Jersey Department of Health, which conducted the exam.
It is the sixth coyote in New Jersey to be identified as rabid in the last 25 years, according to the Department of Health.
John Zeug, 77, received eight rabies shots -- a complete first round of treatment -- immediately after the encounter in his Twin Brooks-area home in the heavily wooded town of Saddle River Monday morning. He's expected to undergo another round of shots Wednesday.
He said he at first yelled at the animal when it wandered near his home, and it ran into the woods. But the coyote came back and sunk its teeth into him, creating a puncture wound visible through his tattered jeans. Zeug said he didn't see the animal coming.
He was taken to a hospital for treatment.
Officers spotted the animal running through a neighbor's yard later in the day and called in animal control and officers from the state Division of Fish and Wildlife, police said. The responding officers found the coyote in the woods and euthanized it, police said. It was taken to a lab for testing.
Authorities believe the coyote made her den under a log cabin on Zeug's three-acre property. Zeug said seven dead coyote pups were found behind the shed; it wasn't clear how they died.
Saddle River police and city officials are now on the lookout for a possible mate or other possible offspring of the rabid coyote.
Police say they believe the same coyote attacked a neighbor's dog last week; that dog, a labrador retriever named Jack, needed 30 stitches to close his wounds.
That dog is also expected to receive anti-rabies treatment.
Workers in the area Monday said they saw a coyote acting aggressively toward dogs; police said coyotes are attracted to the canines' sound.
"She was not scared of us, didn't run ... kind of challenged us and moved away," said Saddle River Police Capt. Jason Cosgriff. "A lot of Saddle River is woods, lots of places for coyotes to run around."
Anyone who sees a wild animal that appears sick or is acting aggressively or is unusually friendly should call police, they say. Coyotes are normally shy animals, according to the health department.
Authorities have noted that it's become "quite common for coyotes to enter into urban and residential areas and in many cases make small wooded areas their home," according to the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife.
Last month, a family in Closter showed NBC 4 New York an old doghouse in their yard in which two roaming coyotes had taken up residence.
People who encounter a coyote should never run away; instead, they're encouraged to "haze" the animal with techniques like making loud noises or throwing sticks or objects towards but not at the coyote, the Humane Society says.