Coyote inquiries on the rise this year, especially in Evans

Although coyotes have been part of Georgia’s landscape for decades, inquiries and complaints are on the rise this year – especially in Columbia County.

“It’s mainly a lot more sightings during the day,” said Lee Taylor, the regional game management supervisor for Georgia’s Wildlife Resources Division.

The division’s office in Thomson has fielded 20 to 30 coyote complaints this spring.

“This time of year, they often have a litter of pups they are taking care of so they’re more active and out hunting,” Taylor said.

Most of the calls are from the Evans area of Columbia County, in neighborhoods along Washington Road and the Wal-Mart.

Wildlife authorities, he said, do not capture or remove coyotes but can offer tips to homeowners who don’t want them around.

“We try to help people understand why a coyote might be coming around their house,” he said. “It might be their garbage, keeping cat or dog food outside or even having a bird feeder that attracts squirrels, which are easy prey for a coyote.”

Coyotes are very adaptable in suburban areas and are difficult to trap or remove, often requiring the assistance of a professional. They are also opportunistic feeders known to kill and eat cats and small dogs, he said. Attacks on humans are very rare.

Residents in populated areas often hear coyotes at night, when they are vocalizing with other animals.

“The scientific name of the coyote, Canis latrans, literally means ‘barking dog’,” Taylor said. “Coyotes use a variety of vocalizations such as barking like dogs, but most often they are heard making shrill yips and howls. Howling is often a group effort that begins as a simple howl but quickly increases into a series of group howls and high-pitched barks.

“It looks like the coyotes are here to stay, so it will be best if people can try and find ways to coexist with them.”

 

COYOTE FACTS

Coyotes are found throughout Georgia and are in every state except Hawaii.

In Georgia, coyotes typically weigh 15-30 pounds, and males tend to be larger than females.

When running, a coyote usually holds its tail at “half-mast” or straight out behind it, unlike domestic dogs.

While Coyotes play an important role in the ecosystem by helping keep rodent populations under control, they can and do prey on domestic cats and small dogs.

Most coyote attacks on pets occur either at night, at dusk or dawn. During these times, be especially careful if you’re walking your pet in wooded areas.

Residents can help prevent coyote problems by never feeding them – intentionally or unintentionally.

Close off crawlspaces under porches and sheds. Coyotes and other animals use such areas for resting and raising young.

Coyotes eat whatever is available, including fruits, nuts, seeds, dead animals, rodents, garbage, pet food, house cats and small dogs.

They breed every year with two to 12 pups per litter. Pups are raised in a den.

Removing coyotes from one area can result in other coyotes moving in from surrounding areas and producing more pups per litter.

Georgia officials did not import and release coyotes to control white-tailed deer populations.

Coyotes made it to Georgia by their natural territorial expansion across the Mississippi River and were brought in and released in fox pens.

Source: Georgia Department of Natural Resources

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