Coyotes are growing in population--and preying on more and more livestock and pets, according to reports from agricultural groups around the nation.
Some of this has to do with humans living more closely to areas where wildlife live--sometimes it has to do with the weather. When drought hits, there's less food available in the coyote's natural habitat, sending the canine creatures on the hunt for other food sources.
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According to the Humane Society of the United States, livestock and pet owners can take some simple steps to help prevent coyote attacks.
Tips for Keeping them at Bay
- Don't leave bowls of pet food or water outside overnight.
- Keep garbage in a sturdy container with a tight-fitting lid.
- Don't place garbage cans out at the curb until the morning of your scheduled pickup day.
- Compost in enclosed bins instead of exposed piles.
- Clean up around bird feeders.
- Keep all pets inside at night and watch small dogs while outside, even during daylight hours.
- Keep cats indoors.
- Make sure your fences are more than 6 feet high with no gaps at ground level — coyotes are good diggers.
Facts about Coyotes:
- They weigh 20 to 30 pounds and leave tracks that are more oval-shaped than those of dogs
- Rear feet are "smaller padded" than front feet
- They hunt at night and "den up" during the day
- The coyote gestation period is about two months and the average litter is six pups.
- Along with calves, poultry, hogs and goats, coyotes will eat crops, such as watermelon.
- They're described as very observant and elusive.