Reports of coyotes on the increase
Reports of coyotes are cropping up across Carson Valley social media, and has prompted a warning from the Nevada Department of Wildlife.
“Living in the desert means you live with coyotes,” spokesman Chris Healy said. “They are a very intelligent and opportunistic species and have adapted very well to living in urban environments, especially urban interface zones that are on the edges of developed areas.”
From late summer into autumn coyote pups leave the protection of their parents and go off to find their own territories and begin hunting on their own. This means an increase in coyote movement which leads to more sightings in urban areas, and unfortunately, more conflicts.
The Nevada Department of Wildlife has recently received multiple reports of coyote attacks on pets, most notably small dogs. Pet owners need to be aware of the coyotes in their area and take precautions to avoid conflicts. Homeowners should work with the other residents of their neighborhood to remove all attractants from the area. Attractants can include pet food, bird seed, accessible garbage or fruit trees.
“Removing coyotes from an area does not solve the problem,” says NDOW’s Urban Wildlife Coordinator Jessica Heitt. “If residents are unintentionally or worse yet, intentionally feeding coyotes, more will always move into the territory and conflicts will resume.”
Pets and children should not be left unattended outdoors, especially at night or during dawn and dusk hours. Although coyotes are active throughout the day, they tend to hunt during cooler hours. Fencing around your yard may reduce conflicts but not prevent them as coyotes can jump a six foot fence; NDOW suggests a roller on the top of the fence to make jumping it more difficult. When walking your dogs, be sure to keep them leashed, and carry pepper spray and a noise making device to scare coyotes off. The only effective way to keep cats safe is to keep them inside at all times.
Coyote attacks on humans are incredibly rare. Attacks happen when coyotes have become habituated to humans and become increasingly aggressive and territorial. If you see a coyote in your neighborhood scare it off, yell and throw objects but always make sure it has an escape route. Attempt to appear as large as possible and pick up small children and pets. If you encounter an aggressive coyote, do not run away, keep eye contact and back away slowly. The goal is to show the coyote you are a predator to be feared, not its prey.
It is the responsibility of residents to be aware of their surroundings and learn to coexist with coyotes.
The Nevada Department of Wildlife educates communities on living with all types of wildlife; however it is not feasible to provide an in-person response to every call. Relocation of coyotes in Nevada is impractical, and lethal removal is challenging in urban areas, and does not provide a long term solution. NDOW can provide more information on preventing conflicts but will only respond to coyotes that are an immediate public safety threat. If you encounter an aggressive coyote contact the Nevada Department of Wildlife Dispatch at 775-688-1331.