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Discussion in 'Celebrate Biodiversity' started by Junglekeeper, Oct 6, 2012.
Coyotes may be start of larger urban carnivore trend
Surprised that Coyotes are colonising towns, how do they get over fences and walls? Raccoons are good climbers so can get into gardens easily and avoid dogs easily, but Coyotes? How are they going to escape from peoples' dogs?
I'd have thought Bobcats and Pumas to be more likely contenders.
Many houses don't have walls or fencing. Even when present there are often openings where they meet with trees and shrubbery. I've seen solitary coyotes before on a number of occasions but only recently have I seen a pack of three running together in the early morning hours. They looked young and healthy so there must be a good supply of food for them in the city.
A book I have, currently located at a friend's place, with a title like Gardening with Wildlife has a drawing showing the high fence with back-curving top the narrative says you need to build to keep coyotes out. My small dog used to jump clear to the top of the neighbors' 5' fence when chasing squirrels - and perch there, on the top ends of the boards.
Los Angeles was having problems with coyotes snapping up house pets being let out into tiny back yards and opening front porch milk deliveries way back when those were still being commonly made. I've been looking out a window here during the day and had a coyote pop noisily through a hedge, turn and look over at me, and then trot down to the front lawn and nose around, hang out for some time. Later I found part of an animal hide on the grass where it had been. This visit was made during daylight hours.
I've also been turning with my dog, about to walk into one end of the equivalent of an alley through the neighborhood here (it has long been closed to vehicle traffic) and spotted a coyote about to enter the other end. It had been walking up the middle of the street and stopped to stare across at us, without yielding, so I turned around and retreated. Again, this was in broad daylight.
And so on. We used to hear them calling during summer evenings, this also was many years ago. We are a suburban neighborhood with most lots by now having been developed. In the past there was a multi-acre wooded parcel immediately behind us, a wooded city park of small to moderate size remains nearby. It is mostly a forest fragment, much of it with minimal cover near the ground - I have tromped around all through it before and never flushed anything.
If you are in an area that is still rural at all, you can have them den right in your yard, not far from the house. I know of a specific recent example of this, on my friend's large Camano Island property.
It is not coyotes that have to escape from dogs but vice versa. Unlike dogs, coyotes are extremely fit, strong, wild animals and dog meat probably tastes as good for them as any other kind of meat.
Small dogs (those things that look like GM hybrids between a dog and a rat) I'll grant, but surely not the average-size Labrador / Dalmatian / Alsatian?
Here in the country people don't usually keep small dogs and still coyotes are known to kill dogs here despite the fact that our country dogs enjoy more freedom than city dogs do and are much fitter.
I believe that strong, fit, hungry coyote has much better chances when confronted with big, unfit, overfed dog than the dog has.
They're also killing people in North America.
The coyotes I've seen to-date appear to be well fed and in excellent condition. A sight today pretty much confirms my suspicions. This morning, in daylight, I saw one running across the road with a fat cat in its mouth. Ties in nicely with the numerous 'missing cat' posters around the area.
I've seen a single one a few mornings recently here near UBC. I was brought up to believe that they adapt to every environment and therefore can be found in most cities. I have never heard of one attacking, much less killing, a human although I suppose that a newborn might be attractive to them.
Slightly oblique story, but relevant enough to relate: About twenty years ago, I was walking up Burnaby Mountain to SFU through Burnaby Mt. Park, and noticed a coyote about 50 yards away. I'd seen them around, but never so close. So I sat down on a rock and watched it for a while. It also sat down, and watched me for a while. And then it did a strange thing: it started jumping up and down in place, biting at it's tail, did this about four or five times, then sat down again and watched me.
As he was looking expectantly at me, I figured 'what the hey', and proceeded to stand up and leap about like the coyote, and sit down again. The coyote watched me do this, and when I sat down, it started again. We did this back and forth about four or five times: each time, one stopped and sat, watched the other, and then took their turn.
After about five minutes, we each went our separate ways. To this day, I have no idea what transpired: perhaps I simply convinced it I was mangier and more mite ridden than it, and ought to be left alone.
Priceless. Thanks for sharing that story.
What a funny story. It would be nice if people always reacted in such an attentive and tolerant way in the encounters with the wildlife.
As for coyotes I rather like them. By keeping their populations in check they protect my gardens from the damage by raccoons, rabbits, mice, voles and other small mammals.