It’s mating season for coyotes, and that has them cozying up to humans a little more often than normal.

“They’re extra curious this time of year because they’re feeling defensive about their young,” says Nadine Dwinnel of Brant County SPCA.

Humans have faced some very alarming encounters with the wild animals in residential neighbourhoods recently.

“I’ve never had anything like that happen in my life where the coyotes approached a human that close right out in the open,” says wildlife photographer Wanye Etmanski.

He claims he and his son were surrounded by a pack of almost 25 coyotes late Friday night, while walking near River Road in Brantford. At one point they were mere metres away.

Etmanski and his son scared the animals off by shining a flashlight directly into their eyes and making loud noises.

The Brant Country SPCA receives numerous calls every year about coyotes but unless the animal is sick, injured or posing a real threat to humans, they are left alone.

“If they’re out walking on the nature trails and their dogs are off leash, really, you’re in their territory,” says Dwinnel.

But as interactions with humans become more common, Etmanski is worried incidents like last Friday’s are more likely to occur.

Brantford resident Molly Toreli walks her dog in the same area where the alleged coyote sighting happened. Toreli makes sure to keep her dog on a leash after what happened to her neighbour’s cat.

“[It] was sitting on her porch and looked up … and saw the coyote going down the street with her cat in its mouth.”