Ms Mallory Lindsay discusses the importance of Coyotes in San Diego
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Coyotes may not have the best reputation among San Diego residents, but they actually play an important role in the ecosystem.
Ms Mallory Lindsay said Coyotes helpful by:
• Help bird populations by preying on mesocarnivores such as skunks, raccoons, foxes and feral cats that eat birds and bird eggs.
• Keep rodent and rabbit populations in check
• Help control the spread of disease by hunting rats and consuming sick animals.
• Environmental Cleanup Crew- As scavengers, coyotes provide an ecological service by helping to keep our communities clean of carrion (dead things).
Is it really a coyote? How to tell the difference between a feral dog and a coyote?
• Coyotes tend tend to be ‘scrawnier’ than our domesticated dog. Their snouts are more pointed and forehead flatter. Another easier indicator is their tail: coyotes walk/run with their tail down while most dogs will walk/run with their tails up.
What To Do if You See A coyote:
If you confront a coyote in your backyard or neighborhood and you don’t want them around, non-violently hazing the animal should be your first option.
The San Diego Humane Society recommends:
• making loud noises and waving your arms in the air
• if the animal runs for a short distance and stops, continue to walk towards it until it is completely out of the area
• Throw sticks or rocks in the vicinity of the animal if yelling does not work
• wear whistles or bring a noisemaker when walking dogs.
• Never run away from a coyote!
• The coyote may not leave at first, but if you approach it closer and/or increase the intensity of your hazing, it will run away.
• If the coyote runs away a short distance and then stops and looks at you, continue hazing it until it completely leaves the area.
• After you have successfully hazed a coyote, he or she may return again. Continue to haze the coyote as you did before; it usually takes only one or two times to haze a coyote away for good.
• Coyotes are skittish by nature and as a rule do not act aggressively towards aggressive people. However, engaging animals that are sick or injured can result in unpredictable behavior. If you suspect that a coyote is sick or injured, contact the proper authorities and do not interact with the coyote.
Co-Existing Tips from San Diego Humane Society:
- Don’t leave pet food or edible garbage outside.
- Restrict use of birdseed. Predators are attracted to the birds and rodents that use the feeder.
- If possible, eliminate outdoor sources of water (especially during fire season or drought)
- Trim and clear near ground level any shrubbery that provides cover for predators or prey.
- Use fencing to help deter coyotes. The fence must be at least 6 feet tall with the bottom extending at least 6 inches below ground level. Use outwardly inverted fencing, hot wire, or cement blocks and large rocks buried outside the fence line to prevent animals from digging into your yard.
- Actively discourage predators by making loud noises and throwing rocks to make them leave.
- Pick fruit as soon as it ripens and keep rotten fruit off the ground.
- Battery operated flashing lights, tape-recorded human noises, scattered moth balls and ammonia-soaked rags may deter predators from entering your yard.
- Keep cats and small dogs indoors, allowing them outside only under strict supervision.
- Coyotes are attracted to and can mate with unspayed or unneutered domestic dogs. Unspayed female dogs in season will attract male coyotes, and unneutered male dogs can be lured away by the scent of a female coyote in her ovulation cycle. There have been cases of male dogs being lured by the female coyote’s scent and killed by male coyotes.
- The trapping and relocation of coyotes, bobcats, and mountain lions is not a recommended or viable alternative. Wild animals are territorial and similar species will simply take over the area vacated by the relocated or dead animal.