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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Since we have had a large number of new residents join us in the past year throughout the city, it seems worthwhile to share with them, and remind others about, our information concerning coyotes in Pepper Pike.
We are well into coyote denning season and interestingly, we do not have as many reports as in past years regarding coyote activity. That may be because we are better educated as a community about these wild neighbors and how we deal with them. Below is a summary of information we have received from the Ohio Division of Wildlife and our animal warden regarding these animals. My purpose is to alarm no one, and you should not be alarmed. Coyotes are generally a benign presence in our community. It is nonetheless best that you do understand their behaviors.
Usually spring is the season when coyotes are denning to have litters and when these animals can be more apparent to us. They can act more aggressively if their den is approached. They are however, even if unseen, always living among us. A surge of coyote activity could be for several reasons. Perhaps, for example, it reflects that the social structure of a resident coyote group was disrupted and that the animals are “roaming” as they compete to establish a new social order. Or, perhaps some “bachelor” animals were ejected from their former den and are moving around our area looking for a new place to compete and set up residence. It is difficult to know the reason for an uptick in activity, but coyote presence will likely become less noticeable as the year progresses and their behavior seasonally changes. Be certain though that coyotes will still be there. What we are experiencing is similar to what other nearby communities are also experiencing or will be.
Generally, these highly intelligent animals are shy of human contact. They are extremely difficult to capture, and the reality is they are here and we must learn to live with them in our environment. Other than a rare sighting you may be unaware of their presence. They are opportunistic predators, feeding on mice, voles, road kill, berries, an occasional deer fawn… Their primary diet is small wild mammals but they have been known to prey on cats or small dogs. If there are food sources around your house outdoors; such as untidy garbage cans, food left out for pets, bird seed on the ground, they will take advantage of it. Here are some tips to keep you and your pets safe:
• Make sure to bring cats inside at nighttime.
• Turn on outside lights and check the yard before letting your dog out at night.
• Walk your dog on a leash; dogs often charge after a coyote and once a fight begins, the coyote won’t stop.
• Coyote pups are born in the springtime and their parents are protective of them. Again, walk your dog on a leash so it doesn’t wander into a coyote den.
• Make sure your garbage cans are closed and don’t leave pet food outside. Never intentionally leave out food to feed the coyotes.
• Do not create coyote habitat by piling cut branches and limb debris in your woods for vermin to reside within.
To avoid a very unhappy incident, I encourage you to be careful with your household pets. Our properties can also be part of a coyote’s territory. Please do not do anything which needlessly leads to them becoming habituated to human activity. If a coyote exhibits aggression towards you or will not be scared away by you these are signs it has lost its fear of humans. That is a different situation than your merely observing a coyote. The aggressive coyote may have to be trapped and killed. You should contact the City in that event and we can evaluate the situation. Please understand that another coyote will naturally take its place, but that animal will likely not have lost its fear of humans and you may not even notice its presence. Unfortunately, the removal of an animal can disrupt the social structure of a den and more coyote activity may for a time be observed as the area’s coyote hierarchy is reestablished.
Most of us did not grow up living with coyotes. These highly adaptable animals are now common throughout our region (and all of Ohio). We all need to understand that reality and be thoughtful about creating unintended outdoor food sources and opportunities for these animals.
This was sent by email on 4/30/29 to residents in our email distribution list. To be included in future emails please send your name, address and email address to Katy at kzippert@pepperpike. All email addresses are kept private, we never share them with anyone.