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Coyotes in Florida

Post Date:02/04/2019 9:40 AM

Coyotes are an important part of Florida's natural ecosystem. They live in urban, suburban and rural areas. According to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission coyote sightings are very common. Coyotes can be found in every county in Florida, and are probably found within or near every major town or city as well.

Follow these tips to avoid conflicts:

  • Feeding coyotes is illegal. They will lose their fear of humans.
  • Secure garbage cans and clean up pet food and fallen fruit.
  • Keep pets in enclosed areas. Walk dogs on a short leash.

The average Florida coyote weighs about 28 pounds and has a paw track about two inches long.

Be aware of unusual coyote behavior. Unusual behavior could include a coyote that has lost its fear of humans and is approaching people, chasing joggers and bikers, or attacking leashed pets. An encounter with a coyote in the urban and suburban landscape is a rare event, even where coyotes are found in large numbers. These animals are generally nocturnal and seldom seen. You may catch a glimpse of a coyote, however, as they move from one part of their territory to another in search of prey (usually small mammals such as mice or voles).

Observing a coyote in this manner (even during the daytime) does not mean that the coyote is sick or aggressive. If the coyote is scared away by your presence, they are exhibiting natural behavior and this should not be cause for concern.

In the FAQs below from Fish and Wildlife Commission you will find a lot of information.  One to note is: 

Why won’t FWC just eradicate coyotes?
Research from Florida and other states has shown that removing coyotes is an inefficient and ineffective method to control local coyote populations. This is because coyotes can compensate by increasing litter size and new coyotes can move into habitat others have been removed from. For these reasons, removal efforts have to be continuous or coyote populations can quickly return to their original size. 

If You Encounter a Coyote...

Coyote attacks on people are very rare. More people are killed by errant golf balls and flying champagne corks each year than are bitten by coyotes per the Humane Society. The following actions can be taken to deter coyotes. A coyote who does not run away when encountering humans has, most likely, become accustomed or habituated to people. This generally occurs when a coyote has been fed (in the form of handouts, pet food left outside, or unsecured garbage).

If you have a close encounter with a coyote, use the following techniques to deter the animal:

  • Yelling and clapping
  • Banging pots and pans together
  • Throwing rocks and sticks
  • Spraying with garden hoses, water guns and sprinklers
  • Utilizing noise making devices (air horns, whistles, cans filled with pennies, etc)
  • Installing motion sensor lights
  • Motion sensor sprinkler systems
  • Utilizing deterrent sprays

REPORT UNUSUAL OR AGGRESSIVE COYOTE ACTIVITY to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission South Regional Office at 561-625-5122.  Do not report sighting. 

FWC asks people to report only unusual coyote behavior or any kind of negative encounter, such as a nuisance issue or a loss of a family pet. When people call about coyote problems, they will explain how to deal with the problem and also provide legal options. Their handling of coyote calls is primarily geared towards helping the public minimize or mitigate nuisance wildlife issues. If you want to report coyote sightings, you can download the app iNaturalist or some other citizen science-based program, or you can post it on Neighbors app or Next Door to alert neighbors so that those nearby can secure pets and other attractants such as pet food and garbage.

To learn more about Coyotes in Florida from the FWC, click here.

Interesting Facts and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Coyotes from the FWC, click here.

To learn more about Wildlife in Weston, click here.

For additional information, visit humansociety.org.

coyotes in Florida

 

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