Coyotes have often been depicted as cunning, sly characters that are untrustworthy. Unfortunately, public perception of these wild animals has not changed much with the connotations of coyotes remaining largely negative. But is it justified?
Coyotes are a species of canine native to the United States where they naturally inhabit the vast areas of deserts, mountains, and forests. However, due to increased human expansion into their native habitats, coyotes have had to learn how to navigate these new suburban terrains. They are intelligent animals that know how to adapt to different environments with ease and skill. It has become common to spot coyotes in major cities, even being seen in New York City.
Unlike their close relatives, the wolf, coyotes are solitary animals but when hunting large prey, such as deer, they can choose to work as a pack. Coyotes are nocturnal animals (meaning they sleep in the day and are most active at night) that come out to hunt at night. Though, it is not uncommon to see them scavenging for food during daylight hours.
Are Coyotes More Active in Winter?
As winter closes in, coyotes become more active during the day in their search for food. They will also travel together more in the winter than they do in the summer months.
Despite what you would assume, coyotes are not purely carnivores but rather omnivores with 10% of their diet being made up from non-meat sources. They are unfussy animals that will happily eat a variety of things such as fish, frogs, rodents, and larger prey like deer. Snakes, grass, fruit, and insects are also on the menu.
However, when food sources are scarce, coyotes will happily turn to scavenging for any source of food in suburban and urban areas of cities and in small towns. They are known to get into garbage and dig in trash cans to pull out any leftovers.
What Month Do Coyotes Mate and Have Pups?
Coyotes start mating from mid-January. The breeding season for coyotes is in the spring months, peaking in late February and early March. The gestation period is 58 to 63 days on average. Spring marks the start for females to begin preparing their dens for new pups. A mom coyote awaits her pups to be born somewhere between mid-March to mid-May.
Are Coyotes More Dangerous During Their Mating Season?
Coyotes can become more dangerous during their breeding season as the males will want to protect their territory from other males. Also, female coyotes will protect their pups and make sure they are not seen by any predators, thus they can get dangerous in some circumstances.
During this time of year, coyotes will pose a major risk to smaller pets, and the risk increases even more during their mating season.
When Are Coyotes Most Aggressive?
As coyotes populations continue to expand at a steady rate, human encounters have become more frequent. Even with this, attacks on humans are rare and highly unlikely.
Like most wild animals, coyotes have no desire for conflict with humans. They would prefer to avoid us and get on with their lives interruption-free. They are of very little risk to you or your family if the right precautions are put in place. But coyotes are more of a risk to family pets than humans.
There are a few simple ways to avoid conflict with coyotes. Firstly, do not under any circumstances feed them. This leads to overconfidence in these animals as they lose their natural fear of humans. Even leaving garbage and pet food where coyotes can have easy access is considered feeding.
Next is to fence your yard and ensure that your pets are not roaming loose. While coyotes can jump fences, if they are built high enough they will deter the predators.
More and more coyotes have been observed living in developed areas and often, people are unknowingly in close contact with them each day. These wild animals are watching and learning from humans who influence their behavior. Coyotes also play a vital role in the ecosystem by providing a great deal of rodent control, and if we respect them, they will do the same in return.
One option that might be used as a compromise in lessening coyote conflicts with humans is to humanely trap them and then relocate them to a distant site.
If you need help to deter coyotes from your property, contact Westchester Wildlife. We are an experienced wildlife control company serving Westchester, Dutchess, Putnam Counties, NY, and Fairfield County, CT.