As you may be aware, there have been many reports of coyote sightings on Fox Island this year. Other rural and some suburban areas are also reporting an increased number of coyote sightings.
It’s important that we all remain vigilant in abiding by the guidelines set by the Department of Fish and Wildlife. A FICRA member recently received an email from a Medina resident with information from the Medina Police Department that contained some tips for dealing with coyotes, which we would like to pass on to Islanders. Please read the following tips, and pass on this information to your friends and neighbors as well. If you, or someone you know, is feeding feral animals or domestic animals outside, keeping un-penned farm animals, leaving garbage out and uncovered, please know that these actions DO attract coyotes and the population will continue to grow.
If you have an encounter with a coyote that you would like to report, please do so by filling out a Crime Watch form here: FICRA Crime Watch FICRA will keep a record of these reports and share them with the authorities. The Department of Fish and Wildlife will be leading a presentation entitled “Living with Wildlife” at the Nichols Center on Tuesday November 15th at 7pm.
Please see the following from the Medina Police Department: “The Medina Police Department has recently received numerous calls regarding coyote sightings in the area. Coyotes are very adaptable animals and can successfully survive in suburban areas. The primary reason coyotes can thrive in our environment is because humans have provided a readily available food source. According to the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the one and only reason coyotes are on the prowl is to search for food. Small dogs, cats, pet food and unsecure garbage cans are favorite foods for coyotes.
Since the use of leg hold trapping is prohibited in Washington and firearm discharge is illegal, managing coyotes in our environment basically depends on managing people and their practices.
Here are 6 easy tips for living with coyotes:
1. Do not feed coyotes!
2. Walk pets on a leash.
3. Supervise small pets and children and keep cats inside, especially from dusk to dawn.
4. Secure garbage, compost and pet foods. Make sure lids are tight, feed pets inside, pick up fallen fruit and prevent bird feeders from attracting rodents. Coyotes are attracted to bird seed as well as the rodents that come to the bird feeder.
5. “Haze” coyotes near homes and community spaces. If you are confronted with a coyote, pickup small children and pets immediately, then act aggressively by waving your arms, throwing stones, and shouting. Let them know you are not prey.
6. Talk to your Neighbors and ask them to remove any attractants. Share these tips.
For further information on living with coyotes, please visit: http://wdfw.wa.gov/wlm/living/coyotes.htm”
From the Washington Dept of Fish and Wildlife
“Living With Wildlife” webpage
Never feed coyotes. Coyotes that are fed by people often lose their fear of humans and develop a territorial attitude that may lead to aggressive behavior. Try to educate your friends and neighbors about the problems associated with feeding coyotes. If you belong to a homeowner’s association or neighborhood watch, bring up the subject during one of the meetings.
Don’t give coyotes access to garbage. Keep garbage can lids on tight by securing them with rope, chain, bungee cords, or weights. Better yet, buy quality garbage cans with clamps or other mechanisms that hold lids on. To prevent tipping, secure the side handles to metal or wooden stakes driven into the ground. Or keep your cans in tight-fitting bins, a shed, or a garage.
Prevent access to fruit and compost. Keep fruit trees fenced, or pick up fruit that falls to the ground. Keep compost piles within a fenced area or securely covered. Cover new compost material with soil or lime to prevent it from smelling. Never include animal matter in your compost; it attracts coyotes. If burying food scraps, cover them with at least 12 inches of soil, and don’t leave any garbage above ground in the area—including the stinky shovel.
Feed dogs and cats indoors. If you must feed your pets outside, do so in the morning or at midday, and pick up food, water bowls, leftovers, and spilled food well before dark every day.
Don’t feed feral cats (domestic cats gone wild). Coyotes prey on these cats as well as any feed you leave out for the feral cats.
Prevent the buildup of feeder foods under bird feeders. Coyotes will eat bird food and are attracted to the many birds and rodents that come to feeders. (See the handout, “Preventing Problems at Bird Feeders” for information on feeder management.)
Keep dogs and cats indoors, especially from dusk to dawn. If left outside at night in an unprotected area, cats and small to mid-size dogs may be killed by coyotes. Pets can be easy prey for coyotes. Being raised by humans leaves them unsuspecting once they leave the safety of your home. If you suspect losing a dog or cat to a coyote, notify your neighbors. Once a coyote finds easy prey it will continually hunt in the area.
Modify the landscape around children’s play areas. Shrubs and trees should be pruned several feet above ground level so coyotes can’t hide in them. Keep deterrents nearby in times of increased sightings. An old hockey stick, broom, or a pile of stones near the play area can help prepare children for an encounter and will remind them of effective encounter behavior.