Friendly Fridays: Don’t Create a Paradise!

Beautiful as coyotes may be, these medium-sized omnivores are best viewed from afar. Sometimes, however, we don't realize that people's daily activities can actually draw wild animals into our neighborhoods or backyards. Coyotes use anthropogenic (human) food sources such as trash piles or outdoor pet foods when easily available, and may begin to associate people with food.

So how can you help keep a coyote away from your home?

1. Avoid leaving your pets out at night.

Coyotes are predators and will perceive small unattended animals as potential prey. They are primarily diurnal (active during the day) and crepuscular (active at dusk), but coyotes living in close proximity to urban environments exhibit a shift towards nocturnal, or nighttime activity.

2. Don’t feed your pets outdoors.

Leftover kibble is some of the easiest pickings a hungry critter could hope to find, and it is designed to attract canines! Feeding your pets outdoors and leaving bowls outside can draw in all sorts of animals, from coyotes to skunks, possums, raccoons, and rats. An easily accessible and consistent food source increases the risk of disease spread and the potential for unfriendly confrontations.

3. Dispose of your trash properly.

Coyotes are generalists in their diet, eating small mammals, birds, lizards, insects, fruit, and human leftovers. Trash was shown to comprise of up to 25% of urban coyotes’ diets. Typical of canids, coyotes have an extraordinary sense of smell and find open trash bags and spill-over an easy meal. Make sure to tie off your trash bags to prevent odors from escaping and keep garbage lids closed and sealed.

4. Maintain your fruit trees.

Coyotes will even eat rotting fruit on the ground! If you have fruit trees, make sure to keep the ground clear of any dropped fruits. A pile can produce a pungent scent that coyotes will be able to pick up on. Fruit will also draw in smaller wildlife that attract larger predators like coyotes, bobcats and mountain lions.

Although we would all prefer that there were fewer urban coyotes, these canines and humans can coexist in the same general space. But it’s best to treat them as neighbors, not roommates. By preventing coyotes from viewing our backyards as fine dining establishments, we can help keep them wild and safe.

Aaron Huelsman

Aaron Huelsman


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