City officials are reminding residents to keep pets on a leash, and take steps to ensure that you are not providing coyotes with a source of food.
The city shares the following tips on deterring coyotes:
- NEVER feed a coyote. Take steps to ensure that you are not providing them with a source of food, either intentionally or unintentionally
- DO feed pets indoors or promptly remove dishes when pets complete their meal outside. Store bags of pet food indoors.
- DO clear brush and dense weeds from around property to deprive rodents of shelter and reduce protective cover for coyotes.
- DO use trash barrels equipped with tight clamping devices on the lids.
- DO try to educate your friends and neighbors about the problems associated with feeding coyotes.
- DO NOT feed or provide water for coyotes or other wildlife. This practice abnormally attracts coyotes and promotes increased numbers of rodents, birds and other creatures that can provide major portions of the coyote’s natural diet.
Coyote HazingEqually important is helping teach coyotes where they are not welcome through a process called hazing.
This is the term used for actions such as making loud noises toward coyotes to change the behaviors of habituated coyotes and reestablish their natural fear of humans.
If you encounter a coyote in a place where they are not welcome, practice these techniques to send the message to the coyote that you are dominant and the coyote must leave. Techniques include:
- Make eye contact and yell at the coyote(s)
- Wave your arms and make yourself appear as large as possible
- Use a noisemaker or a whistle
- Throw objects toward the coyote
- Stomp your feet
- Clap your hands
- Run toward the coyote to scare it off
- Act threatening
- Spray a hose toward the coyote(s)
Hazing does not include weapons and does not physically harm coyotes. Be persistent and keep hazing until the coyote leaves.
Because they may have become accustomed to humans, coyotes may not immediately leave, but following through is important for hazing to be effective.
Wildlife experts do not recommend hazing if a coyote is injured, sick or has become cornered; in these situations, coyotes may act unexpectedly. Coyotes are very intelligent animals and will soon learn to avoid these places where they feel uncomfortable.
How to Protect Pets
- Keep small pets (cats, rabbits, small dogs) indoors. Don’t allow them to run free at any time. They are easy prey.
- Use a short leash when walking your pet. Never let a coyote get between you and your pet.
- Dogs should be brought inside after dark and never allowed to run loose. This is especially important during mating season, which is February through April.
- DO NOT leave domestic pet food outside. Wildlife will soon depend on it.
- Fences do not guarantee your pet's safety. Always attend to small pets outdoors.
Source: City of Wheaton Weekly Newsletter