Coyote mating season has begun. Love is in the air, but that doesn’t mean these amorous animals will be any friendlier to humans or their pets.

Coyote mating season is typically from January to March, and they are known to be more aggressive during this time, but the Tucson Wildlife Center says they are only more aggressive when protecting their territory.

“They’re the same year-round, basically as far as aggression, and it’s just protecting their territory from other coyotes,” said Lisa Bates, executive director of the Tucson Wildlife Center.

During mating season, coyotes are on higher alert, especially if other animals are around. Lisa Bates said, “Coyotes are not aggressive toward people, but if you put a little dog or a little cat out there, unattended, they will think of it as a steak sandwich.”

She advises, “Don’t leave your pets unattended just like you do your children; supervise them just like you do your children.”

Residents on the east side frequently encounter coyotes. Gina Mascetti said, “Walking down the street, usually it’s just one; sometimes you’ll see like one trail and one, almost like scouting.”

Mascetti’s encounter almost ended badly. “The other dog I had, I didn’t have him on a leash, and the coyote approached him was probably about 2 1/2 feet away. It was that close,” she said.

This experience makes Gina extra cautious when outside with her new dog, saying, “If I’m walking him, I just am always on guard. Thinking I’m gonna have to pick him up and start running.”

Due to mating season, male coyotes will be more aggressive, ensuring the safety of their families. To protect your small animals from coyotes, a 68-foot fence is recommended as a deterrent.