It’s that time of year again when many of New York’s resident coyotes are setting up dens for pups that will arrive this spring. Coyotes are well adapted to suburban and even some urban environments, and for the most part they will avoid contact with people. However, conflicts with people and pets may result as coyotes tend to be territorial around den sites during the spring through mid-summer. They need to search almost constantly to provide food for their young.
Coyotes are found throughout the state. Incidents with people or pets are rare, but it is important to be aware of the presence of coyotes so steps can be taken to reduce the chance that a negative interaction occurs. While coyotes that reside in suburban environments are tolerant of people, it is important to take steps to maintain coyotes’ natural wariness of people. This can include removing sources of food, not allowing coyotes to approach people or pets, and not letting pets roam freely and unsupervised.
Last spring, there were two reported attacks on pets by coyotes. Witnesses described the coyotes as especially “bold” and it was believed that there was probably a den in the vicinity.
Contact your local police department and DEC regional office for assistance if coyotes are exhibiting “bold” behaviors and have little or no fear of people.
More information on coyote conflicts from the DEC: http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/6971.html
For more on the history and biology of our local coyote, from its role as a Native American trickster god, to its eastern migration and crossing with wolves, check out our article: The wolf-like coyote in our backyard.