Pets Beware! Across the U.S., Coyotes are increasingly invading our urban areas.
Lately there have been a lot of coyote sightings in our neighborhoods. One encounter in my neighborhood involved a lady walking a small dog. They were confronted by an aggressive coyote that growled at them, and seemed to show no fear. She picked up her dog and started to scream and yell at it. Another neighbor heard the commotion and stepped outside of his house and that made the coyote run away.
In this instance, it is critical to report the incident to the Game and Fish Department immediately. This type of aggression is not normal and could be a diseased animal. This is not typical behavior. Coyotes are living in our neighborhoods and we need to take some precautions.
Coyotes are very clever and adapt well to their environment. They find areas that have what they need to survive. They typically weigh about 15-30 pounds. They eat whatever is available. This includes seeds, fruits and vegetables, dead animals, rodents, pet food, garbage, house cats and small dogs! They breed every year and have their pups in dens. They can be seen in packs or alone. I personally have seen a pack jump over a 7’ wall in pursuit of a cat!
Are coyotes dangerous?
Usually not. However if they have been fed by humans they lose their natural fear of us. Humans should not allow them to be comfortable in their presence. You need to act aggressively to discourage them from hanging around. Eliminate food sources from your yard. Typically coyotes are timid and prefer not to be seen.
Symptoms of Rabies in Wildlife
Keeping coyotes out of your yard is critical. Keep all pet foods inside or supervise feedings and pick up any uneaten food. Store garbage in wildlife proof containers. Trim back bushes and plants around your yard that may provide hiding places. Install barbed wire, electric wire or a pipe that spins around a wire on top of you wall.
What to do if you encounter a coyote.
Never approach a coyote. Humans are dominating and you need to show that by keeping direct eye contact with it. Yell or make loud noises. Pick up small pets and children that coyotes see as vulnerable. Scare them by spraying them with a water hose. Throw rocks or sticks at them. Make a shake can by placing some rocks or pennies in an empty soda can. Shake it and throw it at them. (Be aware that domestic dogs hate this sound as well.) Do not run! Running away stimulates their chase instinct. Pets that are under 25 pounds are easy prey for coyotes. Keep them supervised or inside. Keep your pets on a leash when out walking. In particular, keep cats inside or in an enclosed area. Having a stick, baseball bat, or golf club is advisable. Pepper spray is also a good deterrent and is easy to carry when you are out walking your dog.
In conclusion, having your neighborhood informed and practicing these tips will keep coyotes away from your home and neighborhood.