Winter coyote sightings are no cause for alarm

Indiana

INDIANA (WEHT) Seeing coyotes, especially during winter, is normal and should not cause alarm.

Coyotes become more active during winter. Young coyotes are leaving their parents to find a new home and January is breeding season, making them even more active. Bare vegetation also increases the chance of catching a glimpse.

Coyotes are found wherever people are found. They are opportunistic foragers that will consume anything of nutritional value, which includes animals and plants that thrive around yards and homes like rabbits, mice, squirrels, and fruit. They thrive around people because of the abundant food that comes with human development.

Coyotes are common everywhere in the state, even in urban areas, so seeing a coyote is not necessarily cause for concern. They are an important part of Indiana’s wildlife community and help control rodent populations.

Problems between coyotes and people are uncommon, but it’s important to be proactive in preventing them. Remove food and water sources, keep pets leashed or contained, and try to scare a coyote when you see one. The following tips can make your yard less attractive to coyotes:

  • Clean up fallen fruit from trees or gardens.
  • Keep garbage secure.
  • Make sure pet food and treats are not left outside.
  • Take down bird feeders if you see a coyote around your yard; they could be attracted to the rodents eating the seeds.
  • Never intentionally feed a coyote; it could lose its fear of people.

If you see a coyote, try to scare it off:

  • Yell.
  • Wave your arms.
  • Spray it with a hose.
  • Throw tennis balls or small stones, but don’t throw anything that could be food, like apples.
  • Carry a jar of coins or a small air horn to make noise.

Making a coyote feel unwelcome around people can help it maintain its natural fear of humans, but you should never corner or chase a coyote.

More information about coyotes can be found here.

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(This story was originally published on December 29, 2020)

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