Coexisting with the Wily Coyote
Notes from the Presentation by Camilla Fox of:
- Project Coyote http://www.projectcoyote.org
- and the Animal Welfare Institute http://www.awionline.org
(For the video of the presentation that these notes refer to, please scroll to the bottom of this page and click on the immediately below the video screen)
Camilla Fox introduced the following movie:
- Breeding: generally Dec.-Feb.
- 60-63 day gestation
- Average litter size is approx. 6 coyote pups
- The mortality rate is 50-70% for pups
- Be especially careful with your dog during this time because the coyote can view them as a mate and/or a threat (Mating between dogs and coyotes is quite uncommon)
- Den Site selection: Feb-April
- Territorial-can be more aggressive during this time as they are protecting their area and their den-site. Important to keep dogs on leash during this time when walking in coyote habitat.
- Birthing: March-April
- Summer - Young are coming out—the adults can be protective of their young if they feel threatened. Important to keep dogs on leash during this time when walking in coyote habitat.
- Fall - Pups are now juveniles; the males may disperse to establish their own territory and look for a mate. Sometimes more sightings of transient males during this time.
- Coyotes may be in pairs, small family groups (avg 3-6 coyotes) or solitary individuals.
- Will eat anything (that is why they are so successful). Rats, mice, rabbits are their main diet but they are scavengers and will eat anything, including fruit, vegetables and pet food. It is therefore up to us to keep out food sources in our yards that will draw them too close.
- Coyotes offer FREE rodent control.
- Help keep ecosystems clean by eating carrion.
- OUR JOB:
- Keep compost bins closed and well sealed
- Keep trash sealed - take out the morning of pickup - not the night before.
- Clear your landscape so there aren’t areas they can den (they will even den under decks)
- Close off crawl spaces
- Motion activated lights (or even just leave lights on outside)
- Don’t leave cat/dog food outside or even water bowls
- Keep companion animals inside at night
- Keep birdseed off the ground (Birdseed may attract rodents that in turn attract coyotes)
- Keep dogs on leash at all times (the long flex leashes can be dangerous if too long) - particularly during times of the year when coyotes may be more territorial and protective of their young and den sites.
- Spay/neuter your pets (otherwise they may be a lure to the coyote during the mating season)
- Coyote fencing (minimum 6 foot with over hang and under girth.)
- Even pools, ponds, irrigation systems can be a draw when water is scarce
- Clean your grill
- Pick up fruit on ground (coyotes eat fruit)
- COEXISTING WITH THE COYOTE IS EVERYONE’S RESPONSIBILITY
- The main cause of death for coyotes are cars; studies suggest that poisons, such as rodenticides also appear to contribute to coyote mortality in some regions of the country.
- Day sightings of coyotes are normal. There is nothing wrong with the coyote if you see him in the day, Although studies indicate that coyotes in urban landscapes do try to avoid being out when there are lots of people and cars and therefore tend to be more nocturnal.
- Solitary coyotes can travel up to 15-20 miles in a night. So, often, people think there are lots of coyotes around but it is just the same sighting.
- Coyotes have eleven different vocalizations so when people hear them at night they think there are many of them when in fact there may only be 2 or 3 vocalizing many different sounds.
- The majority of coyotes are not a problem—problems generally surface when people feed them or when they are not afraid. It is also our job to help them be fearful of us if they have become too accustomed to presence of people. We all love to view a coyote and often stop and try and get closer to photograph them or just check them out…instead we need to yell at them, throw rocks in their direction, anything to instill fear. If they are in your yard-spray them with water, bang pots and pans…any action like this will help keep them safe.
- Coyotes are very territorial; so one area will never be overrun with too many.
- Coyotes are opportunists and generalist omnivores which means they will take advantage of easy food sources - which is why it is important to protect domestic dogs and cats and not leave pet food (or water bowls) outside.
- Coyotes are capable of breeding with wolves and dogs (there are 19 subspecies of coyotes)
- Intentional and unintentional feeding of coyotes may lead to negative encounters.
- Unfortunately, the media has sometimes increased fears and misunderstanding of coyotes which is not helpful to communities that are trying to educate residents about coyote ecology, behaviors and ways to mitigate conflicts.
- There has only been one reported fatal coyote attack to a person in US history. Dogs kill 20-25 people each year.
- EDUCATION IS (AS ALWAYS) THE KEY
- The coyote is the most persecuted native carnivore in the United States; the U.S. Dept of Agriculture killed over 90,000 coyotes in 2007 (more than 7000 of which were killed in California alone); the most common killing methods include aerial gunning, snaring, and poisoning.
- Scientific research shows that if you remove or kill a coyote another will just take its place – so this is not the answer—we need to learn how to reduce conflicts before they occur.
- The public needs to take a proactive attitude and understand measures they can take to mitigate negative encounters with all wild animals.
- Community forums
- Use of media
- Coyote brochures and door hangers
- Direct assistance
- Reinstill fear in the animals
- A FED COYOTE IS A DEAD COYOTE
- COEXISTING IS EVERYONE’S RESPONSIBILTY (INDIVIDUAL AND COMMUNITY)
- When wolves were extirpated in much of their original range, coyotes replaced them as the top carnivore in many ecosystems throughout the lower 48.
- Lethal coyote population control is not a long-term answer to the problem
- "When humans are careless—wild animals pay the price" (Message from Ryan Broderick, former director of California Dept. of Fish and Game)
The movie "American Coyote - Still Wild At Heart" - available as DVD
American Coyote - Still Wild At Heart - is a compelling, half-hour film that is a virtual case study of the coyote's arrival in our human landscapes. Unfolding in San Francisco, the film pursues the coyote story across the continent to New York City's Central Park, and to urban Chicago, where more than 2,000 coyotes live today. And finally, to rural west Marin County, where ranchers find some early success in an innovative mix of humane, non-lethal predator control methods for keeping coyotes away from their livestock.
Through beautiful, original footage of coyotes and other urban creatures, this lyrical natural history film explores and celebrates the complexity, conflicts, and richness of the fertile interface between our human communities and wild nature.
To learn more about this film, or to order a $20 DVD, please contact filmmaker Melissa Peabody, at 415-533-0349, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes from the Brief Presentation by Clayton Koopman of Mid peninsula Regional Open Space District (MROSD)
The Mid peninsula Regional Open Space District is working to keep detailed records of wild life that is acting either aggressively or abnormally.
- If you have any issues, please call the district office
- or email to email@example.com
- Call if concerned
- They are setting up motion-activated cameras to monitor in the preserves
- If you encounter problems, it is suggested that you contact the district office before the media, since media tends to emphasize the dramatic and the negative.
Another good reference may be found at Keep Me Wild at www.dfg.ca.gov/keepmewild/coyote.html
Coyote country precautions
Let’s all do our part in ensuring the survival of this amazing animal as well as protecting ourselves. Please educate everyone you can in better understanding the coyote and their ways. We have had lots of issues with rats and I can’t imagine the additional issues we would be having if the coyote wasn’t around.
- Never feed or attempt to tame coyotes. The result may be deadly conflicts with pets or livestock, or serious injuries to small children.
- Do not leave small children or pets outside unattended.
- Install motion-sensitive lighting around the house.
- Trim ground-level shrubbery to reduce hiding places.
- Be aware that coyotes are more active in the spring, when feeding and protecting their young.
- If followed by a coyote, make loud noises. If this fails, throw rocks in the animal’s direction.
- If a coyote attacks a person, immediately contact the nearest Department of Fish and Game or law enforcement office.
AcknowledgementThe bulk of these notes were captured, transcribed and provided by Lee Ann Mitchell - to whom many thanks are due for making them available!
Living With The Wily Coyote
Video of the presentation given at Town Hall