Coyote Problems

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In Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky neighborhoods coyote sightings have been on the rise.Coyote Problems in Greater Cincinnati and northern kentucky

In Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky neighborhoods, coyote sightings have been on the rise.

In particular, communities located along the suburban-rural edge of Cincinnati, including Blue Ash, West Chester and Anderson Township, have witnessed a recent wave of coyote activity. The mix of grassy fields and woodlots created in farming areas as well as the development of suburban neighborhoods in areas once covered with unbroken forest, have created perfect conditions for coyotes. And with the absence of natural predators (the wolf) and an unnaturally high amount of available food (small mammals, garbage, pet food), the conflict between humans and coyotes is inevitable.

The coyote (Canis latrans) is a cousin to the domestic dog and wolf. Native to the North American West, the range of the coyote has been expanding and has successfully moved east across the Mississippi River in recent decades. Although coyote attacks on humans are extremely rare, their presence near people is generally unsettling and unwelcome. Preying on and loss of small pets is a common problem.

Tracking, trapping and removal are an accepted and safe way to remove problem coyotes from your property and neighborhood. A professional tracker, one who is licensed and experienced, can locate signs of access, identify appropriate trap locations, employ coyote attractants to draw the problem coyote to the trap, and safely remove the nuisance animal.

Is It A Coyote?

As cousins, dogs and coyotes have many similar traits and can be easily confused in poor light and quick sightings. Becoming familiar with these traits can help you identify if a coyote is in your neighborhood.

An adult coyote can weigh between 25 to 50 lbs, about the size of a small German Shepard. The eyes are slanted and yellow with black, round pupils. Ears are wide, pointed and erect. The neck is well furred and looks oversized for the body. The body is muscular and long-limbed. The fur is generally a tawny grey and darker on the hind part of the back. Legs, paws, muzzle, and the back of the ears are more yellowish in color; the throat, belly, and the insides of the ears are whiter. The tail is darker on top and lighter on the underside with a black tip.

Unlike most dogs, the top of the muzzle forms an almost continuous line with the forehead. Another quick distinguishing feature is the tail position. Dogs typically run with the tail up while the coyote runs with the tail down. Coyotes also have a loping, sideways run, distinct from a dog.

Coyotes are very vocal with their best-known trait being yelps and a howling cry. The coyote can also bark, growl, wail and squeal. Although often silent in daytime, it may make itself heard at any time from sunset to sunrise, and especially at dusk and dawn.

Other traits that can distinguish between dog and coyote include paw tracks (coyote tracks are more elongated than dog tracks), feces and even wound marks. Contact an expert to positively identify and classify these traits.

Are Coyotes Dangerous?

Coyotes generally avoid contact with humans, therefore coyote attacks on humans are extremely rare. They are most interested in easy food sources and will generally limit their hunting to small mammals like mice and moles. However, as their presence increases in urban and suburban neighborhoods, their comfort level and interest in people and pets raises alarm.

Most of the coyote problems reported in the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area involve the loss of small pets. Coyotes consider cats and small dogs easy prey and so are attracted to neighborhoods with a pet population. Rabies in coyotes is extremely rare in this region but vaccination of your pets is always a good idea.

Since coyotes have a natural fear of humans and will avoid them if possible, always supervise pets and small children if a problem coyote is known to be in the area. But keep in mind coyotes are wild and as such are not always predictable. Remove food sources and if a coyote is sighted too close to your property, shout, throw rocks etc., to let them know that they are not welcome. Never allow a coyote to become comfortable around you, your family or property.

If scare tactics and removal of food sources and shelter do not cause the coyote to relocate, call an animal control expert to track, trap and remove the problem coyote.

Tips to Reduce Coyote Problems

As reported in recent news stories, coyotes have been sighted in many local neighborhoods including Blue Ash, West Chester and Anderson Township. Coyotes are finding these communities, like all communities, to be easy sources of food and shelter. The coyote's intelligence and instincts allow them to easily adapt and take advantage of conditions found around human populations. The following tips can help reduce these conditions:

Respond aggressively - If coyotes get comfortable around your property they will visit more frequently and more openly. Typically nocturnal hunters, coyotes may also roam neighborhoods in the daytime and get uncomfortably close to your pet and family if they do not feel threatened. If you see a coyote close to your property, shout, make loud noises, and throw rocks or whatever it takes to drive them away. The point is to let them know that your property is not a safe place.

Keep pets safe - Small mammals are a coyote's number one food source. In a typical neighborhood, cats and small dogs are numerous and can, unfortunately, become an easy food source. If you suspect a problem coyote in your neighborhood, the best advice is to never leave your pets alone outside - particularly small ones. To further discourage coyotes, keep your pet's outdoor area well lit. Be aware, however, if a coyote feels comfortable and familiar with an area, hunting during the day or in well lit areas can occur.

Very important! If you feed your pet outside:

  1. Be there during feeding.
  2. Remove food when you leave.

Eliminate other food sources - Coyotes will eat almost anything that is available. This includes insects, fruit, garbage and even dead animals. Human populations can provide an easy and consistent supply of food. To reduce access, use metal trashcans with tight fitting lids. If possible, store trash containers inside secure buildings. And never leave pet food or water outside.

Clear brush piles and low-growing shrubs near your property - Coyotes use these to hide while tracking prey. Eliminate obvious hiding spots near your property by removing or trimming low-growing bushes and brush piles. Although not always possible or desirable awareness of these areas can help to reduce their use by problem coyotes.

If you suspect a problem coyote in your area, call a licensed professional.

If you live in the Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky area and a coyote is in your neighborhood, trapping and removal may be the only effective way to eliminate the problem. Tracking and trapping should be conducted by a trained, licensed professional to protect your property as well as to ensure humane removal of the animal. A professional animal control expert can fully assess and address your coyote problem.

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