Camelot Neighborhood Association

Living with Coyotes

 

 

Coyotes have killed two pet cats in the neighborhood in the last few months, and a number of others are missing. As more and more of their habitat disappears, they are becoming bolder and coming into the neighborhood more. The fact that we have a creek winding through parts of our neighborhood all but guarantees their presence.

Lois Hyatt has seen a pair of coyotes at the Shiloh park where she and Lowell walk their dogs. She says that they are very bold, not concerned about being seen, and obviously not afraid of humans. Coyotes have been spotted along Campbell, Shiloh, and Arapaho. Visitors to the park at night have heard them along the creek. Since coyote populations are at an all time high, understanding more about their habits may help us to better protect our pets.

Coyotes have extremely good vision, a very keen sense of smell and can run at a speed of up to forty miles an hour. These very adaptable animals usually hunt individually and will eat almost anything—rabbits, rodents, fish, frogs, insects, snakes, fruits, grass, carrion, and sometimes lambs, calves, or pets. They are most active at night and typically range along creeks and in wooded areas, although they are constantly relocating. Coyotes form strong family groups; the females give birth to litters in January and February. Both parents feed and protect their young and protect their territory, and the pups are able to hunt by the following fall. Coyotes are more active and most often heard howling or yelping during these times.

Coyotes have been more successful in extending their range than almost any animal; they were once found primarily in the prairies and deserts but have moved to the forests, mountains, and cities of the entire North American continent. Coyotes are very wary and difficult to find and trap. Only recently have two teams of researchers discovered that coyotes living in the northeast (from New Jersey to Maine) are actually coyote-wolf hybrids, which explains their larger size and greater variety in color. This would also explain why the eastern coyotes are so much better at hunting deer than their western counterparts, which tend to eat small mammals.

Several pets in our neighborhood have been killed or attacked over the last few years, and there are a number of pets missing, mostly cats. Older or disabled pets, particularly cats and small dogs, are most vulnerable and should not be let out alone at night or very early in the morning if you do not have a fence. Animal Services considers coyotes that have entered yards or alleys or attacked pets to be a problem, and they will respond by trying to trap the animal, which is extremely difficult to do. Richardson Animal Services’ efforts to trap coyotes by Owens Farm a few years ago resulted in larger litters so the trapping was stopped. Being proactive and protecting your pets is the better plan although protecting cats who live outdoors is extremely difficult without a fenced yard.

 

By Judi Cheek

The Knightly News

October 2010

Posted by txclogger on 01/29/2014
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Garland, Texas 75044

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