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Local photographer snapped three young coyotes frolicking in woods along Johnson Creek

COURTESY PHOTO: CAROL ZYVATKAUSKAS - A coyote pup in the woods off the Gresham portion of the Springwater Trail.Local wildlife photographer Carol Zyvatkauskas snapped a photo of a coyote pup Tuesday morning, July 6, as it was playing with two of its siblings post-Fourth of July weekend in the woods off the Springwater Corridor Trail about a mile east of Main City Park.

The young coyotes were so engaged in their games they didn't notice Zyvatkauskas taking their pictures until they had nearly rolled onto her back deck.

Coyotes have long been seen as a symbol of the American west, and have uniquely adapted to survive in most urban settings. According to the Portland Audubon Society, local sightings have increased in the past 15 years. Until the 1940s, coyotes in Oregon were considered rare west of the Cascades.

COURTESY PHOTO: CAROL ZYVATKAUSKAS - The coyote pups were so engaged in their play, they didnt notice the photographer taking their photo near her home in Gresham. They are members of the dog family, and typically weigh between 22 and 30 pounds. They breed between January and March, with a gestation period of 62 days. That means the pups spotted by Zyvatkauskas would be less than 4 months old.

Coyotes tend to be shy and pose minimal risk to humans. In Oregon, the only documented attack was a human-provoked situation in which a man was bitten while attacking a cornered coyote with a 2-by-4 plank of wood.

Coyotes are predators and can be dangerous to pets. Officials recommend keeping small dogs and cats inside, especially between dusk to dawn when coyotes are most active. To avoid drawing them to your property, securely cover garbage cans and consider installing motion-sensitive lighting.

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