Over the last few weeks, the Township has received calls/emails from residents concerned because they have seen coyotes in the area/yard – particularly in the Maitland subdivisions. As the Township does not deal with ‘nuisance’ wildlife, we have done some research to make residents aware of a few coyote facts:
- Coyote howling is the coyote’s specialized means of communicating danger, locating pack members, defending territory, and survival skills for pups. Their series of high-pitched yips, barks and howls acts as an effective ‘coyote GPS’.
- Adult coyotes secure and defend their territory by frequently moving throughout the landscape.
- Mating season is usually in early to mid-February. Gestation is 60-63 days, and the average litter size is 5 pups.
- Coyote parents are protective and caring and will not tolerate threats to their young such as a domestic dog off-leash. Dogs are considered another predator to coyotes, and they will respond defensively to a dog intruding near a den or a rendezvous site.
- As pups become more independent, both parents may venture off to hunt & forage leaving the pups behind at the den. Parents will bring food items and toys back for the pups. Please reconsider removing the pups from wild spaces. Well-meaning citizens assume that pups are orphaned when in fact parents are foraging and hunting.
Tips for Coexisting with Coyotes:
- Never feed wildlife. The few documented cases of coyote-inflicted wounds on humans occurred as a result of humans encouraging close proximity by feeding a coyote. Food rewards encourage them to increase their proximity tolerance to people, yards, & public places where the food is placed.
- Keep pet food and water bowls indoors. Pet food will attract coyotes to your yard.
- Pick ripened fruit and clean all rotted fallen fruit from the ground.
- Do not allow a large amount of wild bird seed to remain on your lawn. Birdseed attracts birds, rabbits, squirrels, and rodents which are prey for coyotes.
- Supervise pets and keep them under strict control.
- Keep chickens, rabbits & other small animals in covered enclosures, constructed with heavy mesh wire. Coyotes can break through chicken coop wire.
- Teach children about wildlife and how to safely respond to a coyote nearby.
What to do if you encounter a coyote:
- Pick up small children and pets.
- Never run from or turn your back on a coyote (or fox/wolf/domestic dog).
- Wave your arms above your head, stomp your feet, and clap your hands. Surprise gestures work best. Be assertive!
- Be big and loud. Yell ‘Go Away”. Never scream. A strong voice and assertive gestures send a clear message.
- Slowly back away. Maintain eye contact and remember never to run.
If you wish to have the coyotes removed, as mentioned, the Township does not interfere with wildlife, so a nuisance wildlife company would need to be contacted.
For more information and helpful tips about coyotes, visit the Coyote Watch Website.