Monday, October 18, 2010

Wild Coyotes Living The City Life

Wild Coyotes Living The City Life

By Rosemary Cisneros

All across America coyotes are pushing their way into the big cities. Where before they could be seen only in the wild or more rural areas, now they're spotted from posh Beverly Hills to humble Tucson. Why are they moving into the cities and what can we do about it?

We're On Their Turf

As much as people would like to believe otherwise, wild animals were here long before we were. We're actually the ones who forced them out while we built our towns and roads, and they sought shelter in whatever wild areas were left and in the mountains.

A six-year study done by Ohio State University that radio-collared almost 200 coyotes in the Chicago area showed that coyotes that were born in the city actually preferred living in the urban areas rather than more rural sections. So, it seems it's not really a matter of them being forced out of their homes, they're simply moving back where they feel they belong.

Why The City?

As previously mentioned, coyotes can make themselves feel at home wherever they're born, so pups who grew up living a city life will naturally feel that it's the only place for them. Paul Krausman, a biologist at the University of Arizona stated that, “Coyotes are one of the most adaptable species on the face of the Earth.” Big cities have everything a coyote would need to survive such as a lack of predators (besides humans), plenty of food in the form of garbage that people throw away, and a good supply of water. When it comes to survival, city life is probably a lot easier than living in the wild.

Are Coyotes Dangerous?

Although a lot of people get nervous when they hear coyotes yelp and howl in the middle of the night or see them casually trot across their neighborhood streets, there's really no reason to be afraid. Mother coyotes teach their young to stay away from people, so they'll rarely attack a human. Your pets, however, might not be so safe.

Getting Rid Of The Problem

No wild animal should be considered a “problem” though it's wise to take precautions to keep your pets and smaller children safe. Some coyote safety tips are:
  • Keep your pets and their food inside. Small dogs, cats, and their bowls of food are prime targets for a hungry coyote.
  • Obey the leash law and keep your dog on a leash when walking it. Dogs are known to run off and can quickly become an easy snack for a coyote.
  • Don't overly fill trashcans. Along with causing a mess due to tipped over trashcans, the coyotes will get used to rummaging around your home at night looking for a free meal.
  • Don't purposely feed coyotes since this takes away their natural instinct to hunt for their own food.
  • Avoid having birdbaths or other containers of water in your yard that coyotes can drink from.
  • Ignore coyotes when you see them. If they get used to humans they'll be less afraid and become bolder in their hunt for food and water.
People and coyotes can be friendly neighbors if we remember the fact that they're wild animals and should be treated with respect. By taking precautions that won't inadvertently lure these wild dogs to your property and by observing a few other commonsense tactics you and your family will be safe, and humans and coyotes can live together in peace and harmony.


National Wildlife Association – “Coyotes Living Large In The City.” 1/06/10
Tucson Citizen –, “Coyote On The Prowl For Tucson Pets.” 2/23/10

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