The woman who scaled a tree Saturday morning to escape multiple coyotes in Saugus’ Breakheart Reservation remained fairly calm during the harrowing incident, according to a 911 recording.
“I’m stuck in a tree in Breakheart Reservation in Saugus,” the Melrose woman told the police dispatcher in the recording. “There’s coyotes.”
She added that she was with her pet dog, Abby, who was uninjured throughout the incident.
“I’m in a tree on the Ridge Trail,” she said. “I was hiking with my dog . . . I have one dog, she’s a Lab. She’s on the ground, right in front of the tree, and there’s coyotes there.”
The woman kept her composure as she explained where in the park she was when she encountered the animals.
“If you start from the main entrance, it’s on the left,” she said in the recording. “It’s the first part of Ridge Trail with red markers.”
She added that she was about a quarter-mile away from her car, before taking a moment to yell, apparently at someone else in the vicinity, “Help! There’s coyotes up here!”
The dispatcher told her he was going to send someone to the park immediately and advised her to stay away from the coyotes.
Fire officials arrived a short time later but found that the animals had run off and the woman had climbed down on her own.
Dave Wattles, a MassWildlife furbearer biologist, said he didn’t respond to the incident but guessed that there was a coyote den nearby.
“This time of year, they have pups in the den and they can act defensively when people and/or dogs come into the vicinity,” he said. “When coyotes encounter . . . a medium- to large-sized dog that can be perceived as a threat to the pups, they can act aggressively toward it.”
Coyotes have a natural fear of people and hardly ever attack them, Wattles said. But, he said, it’s not unheard of for a coyote to act aggressively toward another animal, especially during mating season.
“We’ve only ever had 10 incidents in Mass. where coyotes have bitten a person,” he said, “and the vast majority of those ended up being rabid.”
Anyone who comes into contact with a coyote should try to establish dominance, Wattles said.
“Yell, pick up stones or sticks, and throw them at a coyote,” he said. “Actively haze and chase them . . . you certainly don’t want to run away, which can cause them to pursue.”Elise Takahama can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @elisetakahama.