Sunday, March 4, 2012

Caution: Coyote Season Arrives in South Denver

Around the University of Denver and Washington Park we have foxes, coyotes, racoons, hawks, owls and grad students and we all get along just fine, for the most part. Keep in mind however, that coyote breeding season has arrived and will last through mid March. Why is this a problem? As the weather gets colder and food gets scarcer, coyotes become more territorial in anticipation of breeding and protecting their pups.

Coyotes are ambush predators who typically hunt by themselves, putting small outdoor pets at risk. Coyotes avoid contact with people so the best way to protect your pet is to keep them close to you, preferably inside, especially after dark. If you see a coyote don't run away. Make eye contact and act like the biggest, meanest person ever seen before aggressively chasing the coyote away. The more people harass or "haze" a coyote the more it will avoid people.   

Visit or call a wildlife ecologist at 303-455-0785 for additional information 
The bottom line with wildlife:
  • Don't feed them and please, don't try to make them your "special friend." 
  • Keep an eye on your pets, even in their own yard and especially at night. Don't leave pet food outside. Keep pets in fenced areas or kennels; remember split rail fences and invisible fences will not keep your pet safe from predators. Pet kennels and runs should have a fully-enclosed roof.  
  • Frighten off wildlife with loud noises; use unnatural odors (such as ammonia) to clean trash cans.
  • Remove food attractants such as pet food, table scraps on compost piles, fallen fruit, and spilled seed beneath bird feeders.
  • Remove vegetation and brush that provides cover for prey and hiding cover for coyotes; trim lower limbs of shrubs and conifer trees. 
  • Use yard lights with motion detectors, appearance of the sudden light may frighten coyotes away.
Although rare, coyotes have been known to injure people. Most of these incidents involved people feeding coyotes. Teach your family to steer clear of wildlife and... 

  • Do not turn your back on a coyote, and don't run. 
  • If approached or followed by a coyote, make loud noises, yell and make yourself look big. 
  • If the coyote approaches to an uncomfortably close distance, throw rocks or other objects at the coyote. 
  • Adults should keep themselves between the coyote and small children.

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