Coyote sightings are likely to increase in the coming weeks as the animals begin to search day and night for food to support their newborn pups, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission says.
While coyotes, which are common in all of North Carolina’s 100 counties, like to build their dens away from humans, they can often be seen in residential areas. That’s because they wander in search of food, including wild fruit, small mammals and even cicadas, which will see increased numbers this year, the Wildlife says.
Some pets, including cats and small-breed dogs, should be supervised when they’re outdoors because they can easily be mistaken for a coyote’s natural prey. Keep them on leashes while outside. And, if a coyote seems interested in your dog or cat, pick up the pet and act threatening toward the coyote, the wildlife commission recommends.
Coyotes rarely attack people, say the wildlife experts.
The only way to guarantee a no-coyote zone? Dog-proof fencing that’s at least 6 feet tall and won’t allow animals to dig underneath, according to Wildlife.
But there are ways to discourage coyotes.
You can remove outdoor pet food, fallen fruit, food waste and bird feeders.
You can also “haze” coyotes – waving your arms and shouting until they leave, spraying them with a water hose or throwing small rocks in their direction. That’ll let them know they’re not welcome, says the wildlife commission.
Be warned, though. Hazing won’t work in remote areas where a coyote couple might be housing pups.
“Coyotes will closely watch people who come near their den or pups, so if you are passing through a brushy or wooded area and notice a coyote watching you or even following you at a distance, there may be a den nearby,” said Falyn Owens, extension biologist for the Wildlife Commission. “In this case, leave calmly and inform others to avoid the area for a few weeks. Coyotes use dens like a crib for protecting their newborn pups, and as soon as the pups can survive outside of the den, the coyotes will abandon it.”