In all seriousness, buy a super soaker if you want to keep the coyotes at bay.

The North American mammals are nocturnal during the summer to avoid the heat. But they have a hectic schedule during the winter, when they spend their days hunting, meeting up with former lovers and raising a family.

“Coyotes mate for life,” 911 Wildlife expert Bonnie Bradshaw told us in 2016. “The male and the female work very hard together during the spring and summer to raise their pups, and in the fall they take a break from each other. We could learn a lot from coyotes. In January they start calling for each other. What holiday comes in the middle of February? That’s right, coyotes celebrate Valentine’s Day. Then they have pups in April.”

So neighbor Shannon Addison’s coyote sighting is a good reminder to consider buying a super soaker. Addison saw the mammal wandering around McCree Park near the playground. After a few laps around the parking lot, the coyote retreated back into the woods. Addison found the sighting unnerving, but her daughter was pretty thrilled.

Photography courtesy of Shannon Addison

The animals are comfortable around humans because people avoid them, which “teaches the coyotes that they’re king,” Bradshaw said. Coyotes naturally fear people, and it’s important to trigger that fear.

“All it takes is stepping towards the coyote, shouting and clapping your hands,” she said in 2016. “Pick up a rock or a stick and aim to hit. One of the most effective tools you can use — people think it’s a joke — is to carry a loaded super soaker because those things will shoot 30 feet. And if you make physical contact, it changes their behavior. It’s like the coyote goes, ‘You touched me; you could kill me.’ ”

Their diet typically consists of rodents, which are plentiful in our area. They occasionally eat small cats and dogs. Coyotes usually don’t harm children, because they’re so loud and playful.

Besides using a super soaker, Bradshaw recently gave the Preston Hollow Advocate tips about what to do if you see a coyote. Read them here.