Many communities in Colorado are seeing a spike in coyote populations along with alarming signs aggressive behavior. This year there have been a handful of attacks in Broomfield on humans as they walked through various sections of open space. Most of these attacks occurred while they were walking the family dog. Complaints from the public grew and the Division of Wildlife stepped in. The coyotes in the area were removed but everyone was quick to acknowledge the fact that a new pack of coyotes eventually would move in. Hopefully the new residents won’t show signs of similar aggressiveness. I have been fortunate not to have any coyote troubles when fishing but using a little extra caution just in case.
Few wild animals have capitalized on human’s suburban existence as well as the coyote. Larger than a fox, the coyote is able to muscle its way into prime habitat yet small enough to escape the attention of humans. Finding shelter within the hedgerows and culverts the coyote dines on everything from rodents to refuse. This wily canine will even make a meal of the neighborhood pets if given the chance.
At first glance canis latrans resembles your family pet and in many cases folks mistake this wild canine for the domestic variety. In some tragic examples children have made a similar misidentification and actively try to engage the coyote for play. Thankfully most of these instances result in the animal running away. Human injuries from coyotes are uncommon but result in painful rabies prevention. The Washington Department of Wildlife has a great list of precautions as well as other facts on their Living With Wildlife page (link listed below). The list has been summarized for easy reference.
Don’t leave small children unattended where coyotes are frequently seen or heard.
Never feed coyotes in your neighborhood or the wild.
Use coyote resistant trash receptacles and never give coyotes access to garbage.
Prevent access to fruit and compost, as scavengers such as coyotes and foxes will use this as a food source.
Feed dogs and cats indoors. Coyotes and foxes will use this also as a routine food source walking literally to your doorstep.
Don’t feed feral cats, as coyotes will prey on them as well. Sources of food attract the animals into the area and more food sources allow them to linger for long periods of time.
Keep dogs and cats indoors, especially from dusk to dawn as this is when predators hunt most often.
Modify the landscape around children’s play areas to remove possible hiding places for coyotes, foxes and other wild animals.
Build a coyote-proof fence to help protect small pets, livestock such as chickens, domestic rabbits and others if coyotes frequent the area.
Photo Acknowledgement: These photos were taken in Littleton Colorado and sent to me via one of my super fantastic followers. These photos are not to be copied, re-posted or used for any reason. Contact me via e-mail for more details.