https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/c/coyote/”>coyote incessantly pace the perimeter of its 10-foot-by-20-foot enclosure, constantly and frantically searching for an escape possibility. After an hour of rapid pacing, the animal flopped down, totally exhausted.
I heard from a staff member that it had been locked in that cage for two days and the routine never changed. After a 10-minute rest, the coyote was up again to resume the relentless pace.
A coyote is a magnificent wild animal and not suited for captivity.
Your chances of encountering a coyote will likely increase over the next several months as coyotes nurture newborn pups, and people enjoy warmer weather outdoors. You don’t need to venture into the wild to find them. This may happen in your own neighborhood.
Not quite sure how to recognize a coyote? It closely resembles a miniature German shepherd with the exception of the long snout and bushy, black-tipped tail.
Coyotes bear litters during April and May, with females delivering between three and nine pups. Adult coyotes caring for young will need to forage more. This can lead to increased aggressiveness and ranging into normally uncomfortable surroundings in the search for food.
Coyotes are extremely adaptable and resourceful, and can survive on whatever food is available. They prey on rabbits, mice, birds and other small animals, as well as young deer and sheep. In urban areas, coyotes have attacked people’s small pets — cats and dogs included — and have attacked small children as well.
To avoid problems with coyotes, follow these guidelines from the California Department of Fish & Wildlife:
» Never feed a coyote: Deliberately feeding coyotes puts pets and other residents in the neighborhood at risk. In addition, people can inadvertently feed coyotes by leaving pet food or garbage where they can get it. Feed pets indoors or promptly remove outdoor dishes, bring bird feeders in at night, store bags of pet food indoors, use trashcans with lids that clamp shut.
» Clear brush and dense weeds from around dwellings: Reduce protective cover for coyotes and make the area less attractive to rodents. Coyotes, as well as other predators, are attracted to areas where rodents are concentrated, such as woodpiles and seed storage areas.
» Protect children: Although rare, coyotes have been known to seriously injure young children. Never leave children unattended in areas known to be frequented by coyotes, even in familiar surroundings, such as a backyard.
» Protect pets and livestock: Keep small pets such as cats, rabbits and small dogs indoors, especially at night. They are easy, favored prey. Coyotes have been known to be responsible for a large number of cat disappearances in a single residential neighborhood.
» Use negative reinforcement: If coyotes are present, make sure they know they’re not welcome. Make loud noises, throw rocks, or spray them with a garden hose. To keep coyotes wild or to prevent a coyote from becoming habituated to humans, it is important that coyotes retain their natural wariness of humans.
— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.