Tips To Stay Safe When It Comes To Coyotes
You’ve probably noticed the increasing presence of coyotes in the Chicago Suburbs in recent years, and whether you find them fascinating or nothing but a potentially dangerous pest, coyotes can pose a threat to your dogs. Read on for some tips and links to keeping your pet safe.
In general, coyotes are more afraid of you than you are of them, and according to the Cook County Urban Coyote Project, coyotes do not rely on pets for the majority of their diet. However, coyotes looking for food and coyotes who feel threatened over territory may get into a violent altercation with a dog of any size. This is especially true during their mating season, from January to March. This is also the time younger coyotes are striking out on their own, and may also be more aggressive.
Do not leave a pet unattended in a yard, especially in the early morning hours or at night. Keep your yard well-lit at night as well. However, coyotes have been spotted more and more during the day, so it’s best to supervise your pet while she’s out in the yard every time, and consider keeping them (especially smaller dogs) leashed. Fenced yards are not guarantees of safety—coyotes can jump fences of various heights. Also, Do not leave food out in the yard. This includes food or water for you pets, as well as bird seed on the ground or even food for squirrels. Consider keeping your garbage bins in the garage. Make it hard for a coyote to hide on your property: this may include clearing bushes or ferns in the winter months especially, as these can provide cover for a coyote to hide and then attack a pet.
If you encounter a coyote on your property, or during a dog walk, be assertive. The DuPage County Forest Preserve website recommends making yourself look bigger than you are by waving your arms and making noise. Do not turn and run. If you decide to make an exit, go slowly, and back away.
A potential run-in with a coyote is certainly a frightening thought, but remember that coyotes are not evil—they’re opportunistic and want to survive. With more and more land being developed, they have nowhere else to go, and like much other wildlife, they adapt their situation and learn to live in the same place we do. It’s best for all parties if coyotes are wary of people. Being on the lookout can make a huge difference in the safety of your pets.