Coyotes were primarily found throughout the western states but have managed to migrate to other states throughout the years and coyote sightings are on the rise. The male coyote is slightly larger than the female coyote and they weigh approximately fifteen-thirty (15-30) pounds. They are extremely adaptable and are found in rural, urban and suburban landscapes. A Coyote’s diet consists of plants and animals including rats, mice, insects, fruit, seeds, nuts, rabbit, birds, dead animals, pet food and trash left outdoors. Smaller pets such as a dog or cat are at a greater risk of being killed and eaten by Coyotes.
A study done by the National Park Service found that about 20% of urban coyote’s diet is made up of cats.
There have been numerous reports through varies cities throughout the United States of coyotes attacking small dogs and cats.
Keeping your pets in an enclosed area and walking your dog on a leash are just a few ways that you can help keep your pet from falling prey to a coyote. It is illegal to feed a coyote, NEVER feed a coyote as this behavior will enable a coyote to lose its fear of humans. Livestock should also be placed in a secure enclosure that will keep predators away.
Some helpful tips on how to avoid attracting them to your yard would be by cutting off the food supply such as fruit, pet food and any trash left outdoors. Any fruits that are ready should be harvested and trash kept in a tightly sealed container.
Closing off crawl spaces under porches and sheds will help keep coyotes and other animals from using these areas as a resting place and raising their young.
Coyotes help maintain a healthy ecosystem as they manage the rodent population of other small animals like rats, mice, and insects. They are generally shy and will go away if they encounter a human. If you happen to come across a coyote that seems to not be afraid of humans, you can try to create a lot of noise or act aggressively towards the coyote (ex: waving arms or jumping up and down) as doing so will encourage the coyote to leave.
Most attacks on pets typically occur during the early evening or morning hours. It is strongly recommended that pets are not left unsupervised as coyote sightings have been reported during the day. There were over seventy-three (73) coyote attacks reported to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission in residential areas alone.
Following the safety tips listed above, can help deter coyotes and keep your family and pets safe.
For additional information on safety tips with living with coyotes click here: http://www.myfwc.com/conservation/you-conserve/wildlife/coyotes