Wildlife & Coyotes
At first glance, the eastern coyote almost looks like a small German shepherd. They have a pointed snout, large erect ears and greenish eyes. Coyotes range from 1-1/2 to 2 feet in height and weigh between 25 and 50 pounds. Their long, bushy tails are most often held straight down, yet not between the legs. The coat color varies from buff to reddish-blond to a silvery gray. The tail is always tipped with black.
Coyotes are one of the most adaptable wildlife species and are now found throughout North America. They have the ability to survive in a wide variety of habitats including big cities. Over time, the natural habitats of the coyote, the prairies and plains, diminished as their predators, the timber wolf and the mountain lion, also vanished. The coyote has rolled with the punches and adapted to fit into a changing world. But, can we live peacefully with them?
Peaceful coexistence between man and coyote is possible. The Potter League encourages a healthy respect for these animals and all wildlife. Here are some guidelines for avoiding conflicts:
- The simplest thing we can do to protect our pets from wildlife is to keep them indoors. Always supervise animals when out of doors even in daylight hours – especially small dogs.
- Never leave pet food outside.
- Don’t feed coyotes or attempt to “tame” them by offering free food.
- Keep a sturdy fence around your vegetable garden and pick the vegetable and fruit from any trees as soon as it ripens.
- Keep trashcans inside sheds or garages until disposal day. All outdoor containers, including composting piles, should have tamper-proof lids.
- Clean up bird feeder areas.
- And spay and neuter your dog. Coyotes are attracted to, and can mate with, unsterilized pet dogs. Also vaccinate your pets.
If you do catch sight of a coyote, make loud noises from a safe place or spray near them with a garden hose. Coyotes are less likely to come back to an area where there is an active human presence. By following our common sense, we can appreciate the wildlife around us and exist together in harmony. Even with the wily coyote.
The Potter League has several educational presentations available for school age children and adults on this topic. Contact our Director of Humane Education, Anastacia Southland at 401 846-0592 for details. For more information on coyotes in our area, also visit this website: www.theconservationagency.org/coyote.htm.