There is a restless permanent resident among us. It snoops around our back yards at night looking through our garbage and scavenging for food. Alabama has its fair share of wildlife from raccoons to bobcats. As we develop more land these animals have less to eat and begin to come closer and closer to the city limits in search of food.
There is one animal that has become increasingly more of a problem in the recent years not just in Alabama but in every state in the U.S. – the coyote.
A recent attack by three coyotes on a one year old poodle off Phillips Road in the city limits of Lanett has brought a new concern to residents. The area where the attack occurred is highly developed with a golf course and subdivisions nearby.
Luckily the 6 pound poodle was saved by her owner who began screaming and scared the coyotes away. The dog suffered 7 puncture wounds but will be ok.
This attack raises familiar questions among Alabamians. What can we do about coyotes? Why are they coming into town? Unfortunately as clear as the problem is the answer is not as simple. Coyotes inhabit all of North America and as the country becomes more and more developed theirhabitat becomes smaller and smaller. These animals, like raccoons and possums have been forced to scavenge for food closer to the city limits than they had to come in the past.
Opening a widespread hunting season on coyotes will not eliminate the problem. Coyotes often run in pairs and when one is killed the other becomes a “floater” which will continue to search for a new home. Some research shows that when the coyote population is aggressively controlled they actually increase their reproduction rates by breeding at a younger age and having larger litters.
Our best method is discouragement. It is up to us to diligently deter our unwanted neighbors from stepping foot on our territory. Upkeep on fencing can help to keep coyotes away from livestock but these animals are smart and determined, especially when hungry. Other methods such as electric fences, lights, and frightening devices have proved to be effective as well.
In the city limits it is best to keep small animals under supervision. Coyotes are generally scared of human contact. It is also helpful to keep your backyard from being a buffet to scavengers. Be sure to have lids on trashcans and if possible do not leave out bowls of cat or dog food.