It is said that when Native Americans first began to hunt they were less then successful. The lowly Coyote took pity upon them and taught them how to blend into the landscape, walk silently, and become successful hunters. The nick name early Native Americans gave the Coyote was “Shape Shifter.” While modern day Native Americans are mostly found on reservations, the Shape Shifter can be found almost every where. Even more astounding is the Coyote’s ability to survive when all of its known predators do not. How then does the Shape Shifter not only survive but thrive in today’s societies?
Last edition of the Coyote Cam recounted, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, the need for Federal Coyote Pooper Scoopers in order to determine the Coyote’s feces content. The fecal analysis to determine what exactly the urban Coyote was consuming. Several former editions of this Coyote Cam maintain that the urban Shape Shifter consumes berries, seeds, mice, rabbits, squirrels, along with the occasional pet (cat or dog). If one looks about his or her home there is little else an animal could eat! Professional animal observers have pointed out on numerous occasions Coyote’s love of trash cans and communal dumpsters. Multiple media reports of human and Coyote encounters also reflect the Coyote’s diminishing fear of humans! Folks – this is where it starts to get a little scary. If they no longer fear humans it wont be long until they are jumping six foot fences into our backyards. That is exactly what happened in Colorado this summer. The following link repeats a news cast wherein a dog owner stood helplessly by while her young pup was being snatched.
Can we ever get rid of the Coyote problem? Probably not. What we can do is to make our home and immediate area inhospitable to the Coyote! If you feed your pet outside once it has finished its meal remove the food bowl and any tidbits left around that area. While cleaning up after a pet feeding take a moment and look around. Do you have a bird feeder in your yard? Check for seed on the ground. Mice will come for that ground seed and they in turn, draw Coyotes. How about those fruit trees? Any peaches or apples on the ground? Learn to think ahead of the Coyote – they seek an abundant food source. While Coyotes will eat fruit and seeds in the absence of meat, squirrels and mice rely on those same fruits and seeds. Hence, Coyotes being the fast learners they are- hang around fruit and seed piles to harvest a squirrel or luckless mouse. Eliminate the Coyote’s food sources!
Next, never let your dog outside alone to do its “business.” Yes some pets do not function well on a leash so it may be time to retrain your Spot (hopefully your Tabby is not pooping in your neighbor’s flower bed) to accept this embarrassing encroachment on their privacy. A trend to use poop bags for dog walks is gaining popularity, Coyotes have the best poop analyzer in the world – their nose. Start using those poop bags! Those poop bags keep the walking paths not only sanitary but diminish the Coyote’s ability of finding your home. Tidy poop removal will cause the remaining stuff to dissipate more rapidly!
Finally – learn to haze! All you college graduates know what hazing is. Making the underclassmen feel like morons, right? To a certain degree the same thing applies to Coyotes only in their case we want to frighten them. The biggest problem we have today is that the casual walk with the family dog is not casual anymore. However, being prepared to scare the Coyote will aid in making them feel unwelcome! Hazing a Coyote is not hard! First, make sure Spot is safely attached to you if possible. Throw up your hands and make yourself bigger – start yelling “Go Away.” Be Loud! If you are at home and can get to the water hose spray the Coyote, they do not like being wet. Most all county extension offices have Coyote specialist – call them and find out what they recommend. If you don’t have a Coyote problem now it is only a matter of time before you do. Be prepared for that eventuality because it may already be there, the Shape Shifter is watching you.
Stay tuned – there is more to come on the Coyote Cam. Thanks for reading!