BELLEVUE, Washington – Two small boys were nipped by a coyote in this suburb east of Seattle, and state wildlife officers were setting traps to try to catch the animal.
Jacob Town, 4, was bitten in the bottom Tuesday evening while playing in his front yard while his mother was working nearby. About an hour later, 18-month-old Tristan Bec was nipped on the ear and scalp as he played with his brother at a school playground.
The boys were released from hospitals following treatment for minor puncture wounds and scratches. They were given rabies shots as a precaution.
Cassandra Town said her son told her a dog had just bitten him. She did not realize it was actually a coyote until a commotion arose down the street when an adult neighbor reported being nipped.
Rachelle Bec said she was about four 4 feet (1.2 meters) from her toddler and had just turned her back to get a bottle of water from her stroller when the coyote pounced.
"When I turned back the coyote ran so fast and jumped on him and started to bite his ear," Bec said. "I turned around and threw my water bottle at him and it kind of startled the coyote."
Capt. Bill Hebner of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife said the attacks were the most recent of five confirmed coyote encounters since late March. All likely involve the same animal, he added.
Hebner said he has never dealt with a coyote biting incident in the region before.
"It's rare here, but it is going on in the western United States," he said. "It was just a matter of time. I expect this to be recurring problem for a long time."