While traveling through some of your favorite dog walking trails you can see that the wildlife habitat is shrinking, while urban sprawl and subdivisions are growing. This is a common theme across North America as we continue developing green spaces. Unfortunately, due to coyotes' limited food sources and their habitat space decreasing, this species wanders into heavily populated areas for food. Coyotes are amazingly resilient and have adapted to live within populated areas. However, since large predators, such as big cats and bears, have been mostly eradicated from populated areas, coyotes have stepped into the void to perform much-needed rodent control and are an essential part of the ecosystem.
Coyotes do not have a specific diet, meaning they can survive off of just about anything. They will eat small mammals, such as mice, rabbits, squirrels, and fawns. They scavenge insects, fruits, birds, amphibians, and reptiles. If a domestic pet, like a cat or dog, or small livestock, such as lambs, are readily available, coyotes will gladly have a convenient little snack. Even though coyotes reside just about everywhere, from Central America to the Arctic, the number of attacks on house pets is very low. While coyotes would prefer their natural diet of rodents and fruit, coyote attacks on pets in urban areas are on the rise. Our job as responsible humans is to learn to live peacefully with coyotes, which includes taking steps to keep our pets safe.
Here are some easy steps you can take to keep your dogs and cats safe at home and in nature.
It is important to remember that coyotes are naturally timid, curious creatures. If you do encounter a coyote, don’t run away from it as this will incite their predatory chase behavior. Instead, stand your ground and make loud noises, such as clapping your hands and yelling, to discourage the coyote from approaching you and your pet.
If your dog gets attacked, you should seek immediate veterinary attention for care for the wound as well as to address any important public health concerns. Report coyote attacks or close encounters to your local wildlife agency. Work together as a community if coyotes are a problem where you live to keep the neighborhood as safe as possible for everyone, including the coyotes. Coyotes are a crucial part of North America's wildlife ecosystem, so we must adjust our behavior to keep our domestic animals safe. You can also book an online virtual care appointment to discuss the best way to protect your pets in your neighborhood.
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