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Coyote Cautions

As humans expand their living areas and coyotes expand their range as well, contact is inevitable. Most of the time, coyotes go out of their way to avoid humans, but they are discovering that humans are a good source for food. Resourceful and adaptable as coyotes are, they will take advantage of this when they can. In urban area and in some National Parks the Coyotes are changing their behavior.

The most serious problem is that the animals may become habituated to people. As they lose their fear of people, they will become bolder in approaching people and may put themselves in hazardous situations they would normally avoid.

Coyotes, if fed regularly by people, will come to depend on people for their food. They won't starve if you stop feeding them, but they will be hungry and unafraid of people. They can get very aggressive in approaching other people. Some of the national parks now have coyotes that are begging for food. Children and adults being bitten by coyotes in California, Arizona and other states. The most danger is in urban areas where young coyotes have learned to steal and beg for food. If they can't find food, then the small animals in the neighborhood will become their targets to solve their need for food. Children will also be at risk of being bitten.

Coyotes are not your average dog -- they are not to be messed with. They are smart, and they learn quickly. They can be dangerous, and when it comes to urban coyotes, steps should be taken to avoid encouraging them to visit your neighborhood. That means close garbage can lids tightly, do not leave pet food outside and do not leave small pets outside unaccompanied.

Coyotes love nothing better than cats and frequently take small dogs. Inform neighbors of your sighting and encourage them to take steps to NOT attract the clever little varmints. Remember: Make sure that no pet food is ever left outdoors.

If a wild coyote bites you, report the injury to a hospital, which will notify the state department of health. You will have to get a series of rabies shots, which are expensive and painful.

Coyotes usually present little danger to livestock. While they are normally fairly solitary or roam in small groups, at times they may gang up and attack larger animals such as sheep or a pony. During foaling time, do not let foals out without a human around at all times. Coyotes will attack sheep and foals but not adult cattle or horses unless such livestock are sick or extremely weak.

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