HUMANE SOLUTIONS TO COYOTE PROBLEMS
Size: Coyotes vary in size depending on location, but generally are 4 to 4.5 feet long, including tail and stand 18 to 25 inches tall at the shoulder.
Weight: 20 to 50 pounds; males are typically heavier than females.
Color: Gray, brown, or tan above, whitish underneath.
Habitat: Coyotes live in deserts, lush waterway areas, rolling grasslands, high forests, cities, suburbs, rural towns, and agricultural lands.
Home Range: Territories vary from 300 acres to 100 square miles, depending on food supply and coyote population density. A normal home range is 25 to 30 miles in diameter.
Breeding: The female bares one litter of 3-9 puppies a year, usually in April or May when food is abundant.
Life Span: 8 to 10 years in the wild.
Other Characteristics: Coyotes are omnivorous and eat whatever is handy, including meat, garbage, insects, rodents, rabbits, birds, deer, pronghorn, and carrion. In late summer and early fall, fruits and berries can make up a large portion of their diet. Coyotes are important in controlling rodents; 80 percent of their diet consists of rabbits, squirrels, gophers, mice and rats. Normally solitary hunters, they sometimes hunt in pairs and rarely in packs to bring down large prey.
All wildlife, including coyotes, is protected by local, state, and federal regulations. It is unlawful to keep indigenous animals as pets.
Public Health Issues:
Coyotes are susceptible to a number of diseases that can affect humans and their companion animals, including rabies, canine distemper, and canine parvovirus.
Coyotes help keep the balance of nature in order, and are great at rodent control. An area with coyotes will not be overrun with mice, gophers, squirrels, or rabbits. A lot of cattle ranchers in the west welcome coyotes on their lands as a way of controlling the burrowing rodents whose holes have injured cows and horses. Coyotes love insects and many farms have been saved from massive large insect invasions (i.e. grasshoppers) by allowing the coyotes to roam the fields.
Problems and Solutions:
Coyotes eating garbage, approaching house, or attacking pets:
Why it happens: In urban areas, coyotes are less likely to fear humans and more likely to associate them with an easy, dependable food source. Some have been known to come up to doors of homes if food is regularly present.
1. Do not feed the coyotes (This is illegal). Observe food sources that are attracting them and take steps to eliminate these.
· Never leave pet food outside.
· Keep cats and small dogs indoors, supervise them when they are outside. In addition to coyotes, small pets often fall prey to free roaming and feral dogs and Great Horned Owls.
· Keep garbage in a sturdy container with a tight fitting lid.
· Keep compost in an enclosed bin instead of exposed piles.
· Pick your fruit as soon as it ripens and clean up fallen fruit.
· Clean up around bird feeders.
· If possible, eliminate outdoor sources of water.
2. Chickens, rabbits, and other small animals often kept outdoors should be kept in well protected areas and in sturdy cages at night. Cages made of chicken wire are meant only for keeping small animals contained. They will not keep desperate coyotes or other predators from entering. Stronger gauge wiring is necessary in protecting these small animals.
3. Coyotes are attracted to, and can mate with un-spayed or un-neutered domestic dogs. Un-spayed female dogs in season will attract male coyotes and un-neutered male dogs can be lured away by female coyotes in season. There have also been cases of male dogs being lured by the female coyote and killed by the male coyotes.
4. Use fencing to help deter coyotes. The fence should be at least 6 feet tall. It also helps to have the bottom extending at least 6 inches below the ground.
5. Trim and clear near ground level shrubbery that provides cover for coyotes or prey.
Trapping and Relocating
The Larimer Humane Society does not trap and relocate nuisance wildlife.
Relocating individual coyotes away from their home range without altering the habitat is merely a short term solution. Relocating animals will cause more long term problems for the home owner by actually increasing the local population. By removing existing coyotes, you invite others to come in and compete for the new resources created by the available territory, resulting in more coyotes than you had before. Due to increased resources, litter size can also increase in those areas.
Coexisting with Coyotes:
Due to the rapid loss of habitat by development, many coyotes have found themselves forced to cohabit with humans. We humans need to learn to coexist with this native species. The problem of dealing with the urban coyote will not be solved by extermination; this would just disturb the ecosystem of the area. Education and coexistence are the solution.