Spring is here and that means just one thing, not love or the re-birth of Nature after the long, desolate Winter but coyotes.  Yes, the wily coyote.  The coyote’s natural habitat stretches the entire Western coast, from Canada to Central America.  And, with the ever-encroaching golf courses, strip malls and the rest of suburbia, the coyote has a greater source for food.  (Naturally a predator of small prey, the coyote has adapted to find food anywhere it can; including jumping in to dumpsters and snatching small dogs and cats left out overnight.)

Coyotes don’t tend to be as noticeable in the winter months.  They are typically too busy doing what everyone else does when they’re snowed in for extensive periods of time.  Yes.  They make babies.  The howls you hear on a dark February night echoing down from the mountain is some hot coyote baby-making action.

A satisfied coyote in winter.

photo credit: Laramie River Dude Ranch

 

Throughout the Spring and Summer, the coyote is hunting to feed it’s new pups and, like any good parent, they will do whatever it takes to provide for their family.

So, here are a few ways to make it harder for the coyote to provide for their family:

1) The coyote is naturally a nocturnal animal.  They can be seen mostly between dusk and dawn.  Installing motion sensor lights around your property can help to scare them away.

2) Keep your property clean.  Make sure all trash bins are tightly sealed and that any fallen fruit is swept away.  Food waste will attract rats and other small rodents.  Coyotes eat rats and other small rodents.  (The same for any random puddles or garden ponds in drier climates.  Coyotes will go to whatever water source they can find.)

A coyote sneaking in from the wild.

photo credit: Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

3) Bring in any outdoor pets at night.  Your yapping shih tzu or over-active terrier would be no match for their distant cousin.  Also, make sure any infants or toddlers aren’t left alone.  The coyote does have a taste for man.  If you insist on leaving your pets and children out over-night, put up a fence around your property and trim any low growing shrubberies to help eliminate any hiding spots.

A hungry coyote

photo credit: Stephen J Pollard

4) Anyone who insists on waking up before dawn to go running, be aware that you may have an unwanted companion.  If you find yourself being followed by a coyote as you run through your mountain trails, a sudden, loud scream will typically scare it off.  If that fails, throwing rocks and large sticks at it should do the trick.  Whatever you do, do not stop at the large pile of protein bars in the middle of the trail that has a handwritten sign that says “FREE” sticking up from the middle of it.  It will most likely be a trap.

Coyotes running in the wild.

photo credit: www.ForestWander.com

5) Most importantly, coyotes are wild animals.  They have survived for hundreds of years and they will survive for hundreds more.  There is no reason to feed them or to think that you can make them a pet.

A coyote resting.

photo credit: John Picken