Ask the Survival Mom: What should I do about coyotes in my neighborhood?
Reader Ellen asks:
We have coyotes in our neighborhood. I know this is old hat to many people, but we are in a very built-up, 1950s urban/suburban neighborhood in the Southeast. There is a nature preserve about 2-3 miles away, and I assume that is their main habitat. Coyote migration to our state is relatively new, and having them boldly walking down our fairly busy streets in the dusk and dawn is new this year. I have heard they are starting to come into people’s yards and take down cats and small dogs.
Firing a “warning shot” on a lot that is less than 1/3 acre is not a way to make happy neighbors. I am researching ways to deter them from our yard and area, and I read that they usually will not a) hunt in daylight or 2) attack humans unless they have become extremely emboldened. I do have 2 preschool/kindergarten age kids who are used to “free ranging” in our yard, and if an encounter is extremely unlikely I don’t want to go all paranoid and confine them to the house. They are familiar with the fact that we have snakes around and know what to do in case of a sighting, but large predators is a different situation.
Do you or your readers have any suggestions for coyote-proofing our yard and kids?
The Survival Mom:
Ellen, the problem with coyotes isn’t new. According to this article from last year, it’s becoming a nationwide problem. And if our country’s economic trend continues downward, we may see packs of feral dogs also becoming a problem.
My first question to you is, have you called your city and police department about the problem? They may be able to send out animal control officers who will trap the coyote. Depending on their policies and the circumstances, they may put it down or set it loose far outside city limits. They will also be able to tell you more about the problem, how they are dealing with it, and give you tips for staying safe.
Obviously, make sure that no food, including dog food, is left outside and that trash cans have very secure lids, with a latch if possible. Even compost piles and bird feeders can attract coyotes and other wild animals.
Talk with your neighbors about the issue and see what solutions they have come up with. See who would be willing to join in on a “coyote alert” phone call system, so that everyone in the neighborhood will know when a coyote has been sighted in the area. Since the problem affects everyone in your area, the more people working toward a solution, the better.
Do you have a large watchdog? That would be one way to be alerted if a coyote got into your backyard while your kids were playing.
Personally, I’d be tempted to sit outside the the kids with a BB gun in my lap, considering that firing a .22 within city limits is a big no-no.
Now it’s your turn…
What else can Ellen do to make sure coyotes stay away from her home and backyard?
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