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Coyote Concerns

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As development in Manatee County continues to increase, it brings an unwelcome visitor to residential areas: the coyote.

And, there's very good reason. Coyotes are drawn to residential areas when they have easy access to small pets, pet food and trash, said Gary Morse, a spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC), to the Bradenton Herald.

Another spokesman for FWC, Stan Kirkland, told the Bradenton Herald: “I can remember when coyotes were a rarity in Florida. But now we have thousands of coyotes in Florida and they are in all 67 counties.”

“They are very well-suited as a predator to occupy habitat anywhere,” Kirkland said. “All they need is a minuscule wooded spot where they can lay low during the day. They typically hunt at night.”

So, how do you combat this increasing problem? Morse recommended residents erect 5-foot fences around their property or keep pets inside and put trash out in the early morning instead of the night before.

Here are some great tips from The University of Florida and the Florida Fish and Wildlife's A Guide to Living with Urban Coyotes:

-- Keep your pets safe. Don't allow them to roam freely. Walk small dogs on a short leash and be wary at night and near dusk and dawn.

-- Never feed coyotes. Keep garbage covered and don't place food outdoors that will attract wild animals.

-- If a coyote approaches too close, act aggressive. Shout, wave your arms, or throw pebbles near — but not at — the animal to scare it away. Carry an air horn or a homemade coyote shaker — pebbles or coins inside of a can — to scare it away.

-- Coyotes can weigh between 15 and 30 pounds. The males are slightly larger than the females. They breed every year with 2 to 12 pups per litter, which are raised in a den.

-- Removing coyotes from one area can result in other coyotes moving in from surrounding areas and producing more pups per litter.

For more information, visit myfwc.com/media/2675483/Living-With-Urban-Coyotes.pdf