Living with Coyotes in Oakley

Before Highway 4 was rerouted I would love to stay after late summer Council meetings, then held at Freedom High, and listen to the coyotes bark and howl at each other in the open fields and hills to the west of Oakley. Apparently they’ve returned and have been roaming the streets of the Magnolia Park subdivision.

Even as we transition from a rural to a more suburban environment, coyotes have shown a resiliency to survive almost anywhere. How do you live with Coyotes in your neighborhood? Here are a few excerpts from the web that may help:

The Versatile Coyote

imagesDJN7BFGMThe coyote is a member of the genus Canis along with jackals, the gray wolf, the red wolf, and domestic dogs. While coyotes once lived only in prairies and deserts of the western United States and in Mexico, they can now be found across North America. They are an incredibly adaptable species and have been able to extend their range, especially around human habitation.

Coyotes have a varied palate and can survive on a wide variety of food. Mice, voles, rabbits, lizards, fruits, berries, and even insects are acceptable food. Coyotes, when hunting in packs, will also hunt and kill lambs, calves, or other livestock, as well as pets. They aren’t just equal opportunity eaters either; the coyote can adjust its breeding habits and social dynamics in order to survive in a wide variety of habitats.

Coyotes weigh between 20 and 50 pounds (9 to 23 kg). Their keen vision and strong sense of smell makes they formidable hunters. They can also run up to 40 miles (64 kilometers) an hour. In the fall and winter, they form packs for more effective hunting. Biologists believe that the coyote population might be at an all-time high. So it’s important to take steps to protect pets from coyotes if you live in their habitat.

Coyote Precautions

While coyotes can be dangerous and troublesome to domestic animals, they are simply trying to survive as well. Wild animals are opportunists, so if you live in coyote habitat the first precaution should be to remove any potential food from your yard. Don’t leave food outside for pets and make sure your trashcan lids are secure and that coyotes do not have access to them. If coyotes do not have a reason to enter your yard, they may be less likely to wander in and tussle with your pets.

If you know there are coyotes in your area, keep your cats inside. Coyotes are known for predating on housecats and a cat has very little chance against a pack. If you have small dogs, be sure to supervise them when they are outside, especially at night. Make sure all your animals are secure. National Geographic

What Attracts Them?

Coyotes may visit a home if they find food, water, or shelter there.

  • Food can include unattended pets, birds or rodents attracted to bird feeders, pet food,0925-00601 garbage, or fallen fruit.
  • Water sources can include a pet’s water bowl or a swimming pool.
  • Shelter can include a storm drain or any cave-like area beneath a shed or unused building.

What Should I Do?

If you see a coyote near your home, don’t ignore it. This may cause it to lose its natural fear of people, which can eventually lead to aggressive behavior.
To discourage a coyote, immediately

  • Make loud noises.
  • Shout and bang pots and pans or rattle empty soda cans with pebbles in it (coyote shaker).
  • Wave your hands or objects like sticks and brooms.
  • Throw small stones or cans.
  • Spray the coyote with a hose.
  • Use a commercial repellent like Mace, if necessary, on bold animals that refuse to leave.

In an emergency

If a coyote is aggressive, approaching a person, biting, or growling and snarling unprovoked, then:

  • Continue and exaggerate the above actions.
  • Don’t turn away or run because the animal may view it as an opportunity to chase.
  • Keep eye contact.
  • Move toward other people, a building, or an area of activity.

To prevent further problems

  • Remove anything outside your home that may be attracting coyotes. This includes garbage, pet food, water sources, and bird feeders that can attract rodents and birds for coyotes to eat.
  • Never feed coyotes.
  • Encourage your neighbors not to feed coyotes or leave anything out that might attract the animals.
  • Feed your pets inside, and never leave them unattended, especially at dusk and dawn when coyotes are most active. If it’s necessary to leave a small pet outside unattended, keep it in a sturdy enclosure with a roof.
  • Keep poultry, rabbits, and rodents in secure enclosures.
  • Trim and remove any ground-level shrubs and branches that provide hiding places or den sites for coyotes or their prey.
  • Secure garbage containers and eliminate odors by cleaning trashcans with a 10 percent chlorine bleach solution. Put out trash containers on the morning of pickup, not the night before. Arizona Game and Fish Department.

About Kevin

Councilmember - City of Oakley, Manager of Mainframe Operations and Optimization – USS-POSCO INDUSTRIES, Co-Founder and Board Member - Friends of Oakley A Community Foundation, Commissioner - Contra Costa Transportation Authority, Board Member - Tri Delta Transit, Transplan, San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority and RD 2137, Advisory Board – Opportunity Junction
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