Officials in Iowa City are investigating a rare animal attack involving a coyote, and the attack happened on the University of Iowa campus.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette reports that the attack happened at around 4 p.m. on Monday while the woman was walking along the Mormon Handcart Trail near 116 Hawkeye Ct. Officials say that the woman felt something biting her ankle. When she turned around, the animal lunged towards her and began to bite and scratch her.

Based on the woman's description of the animal, DNR officials belive that it was a coyote. The animal has not yet been found. The Gazette reports that the woman who was attacked is being treated for rabies, and has scrapes, bite marks, and lacerations to her head, face, and upper body. The wound on her arm required stitches.

DNR officials say that coyote attacks in Iowa are rare. The Gazette reports that there hasn't been a recorded case in Iowa in 20 years. Investigators say they have two theories on why the animal attacked. The first is that the coyote might have rabies, which is why the woman is receiving preventative treatment. Officials say that is why they need to find the animal to make sure it isn't spreading the disease.

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The second reason the coyote might have attacked is that it is a mother with a litter of pups nearby and it was acting in defense, according to the Gazette. DNR officials have searched the area and did not find any evidence of a litter nearby.

Officials say that residents should continue to be aware of their surroundings, not leave food items outside, and have their pets vaccinated for rabies.

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