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How to Live with Coyotes & Foxes in our Neighborhood

posted Feb 29, 2012, 8:45 PM by Mark Rieves   [ updated Feb 29, 2012, 8:50 PM ]
     


At our February monthly meeting, Bonnie Bradshaw of 911Wildlife (www.911Wildlife.com), a local Texas company specializing in humane residential and commercial animal removal, discussed the “other” residents – mainly coyotes and foxes - who call Vickery Place home. 

The good news is that these animals are NOT the dangerous rabid animals that the local news media would sometimes have us believe.  Neither the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) nor the State of Texas have classified coyotes or foxes as a human safety risk. Coyote attacks on people are extremely rare.  When bites do occur (only about five per year and most are in California), it is due to people hand feeding the coyote.  In contrast, 330,000 people visit the emergency room each year due to dog attacks.  The last person to die from a coyote attack was in 1981 – again in California and from hand feeding.  So the #1 safety rule is: Don’t feed wild animals!

Although coyotes will occasionally prey on free-roaming cats and small dogs, the fear of coyotes or foxes attacking our pets is also greatly exaggerated.  For example, cats are more likely to be harmed (in order) from cars, diseases, injuries suffered from stray dogs and other cats, poisons, and uncontrolled breeding.  Coyotes and foxes are scavengers (they do not hunt in packs) and they seek out prey that will give the greatest reward for minimum risk of injury to themselves.  Therefore they eat mice, rats, squirrels, insects, birds, and fruit.  And they especially love the food you leave out for your dog and cat!

To keep coyotes and foxes away, do three things:

  1. Restrict the food supply.  Don’t leave out cat and dog food.  Eliminate areas and foods that attract mice and rats, especially bird seed (feed your birds in the morning so that all of the seed is gone before nightfall).  Pick up fruit that has fallen to the ground.  (Note that you should NOT use mice and rat poisons.  Hawks and owls eat the poisoned rodents and die.)

  2. Eliminate access to den sites.  Fully seal off the crawl space under your house and openings under your deck and around your shed.  Cut back brush that provides cover for coyotes or their prey.

  3. Scare them away.  Bang metal pot lids together to create a loud noise or install a motion-activated water sprinkler.  Use a hose or a ‘super soaker” water gun and squirt them!

For more detailed information about living with coyotes and foxes in an urban environment, go to the Resource Center section of this website (www.vickeryplace.com/resource-center) and open the file "Coyotes & Foxes.pdf."  Also in the Resource Center you will find a one page "Do's and Don'ts of Solving Wildlife Problems" and a house diagram detailing all of the areas around your home and yard that attract rodents.  

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Mark Rieves,
Feb 29, 2012, 8:45 PM
Ċ
Mark Rieves,
Feb 29, 2012, 8:45 PM
Ċ
Mark Rieves,
Feb 29, 2012, 8:45 PM
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