Man vs. coyote: What you should know about your furry neighbors
The more Austin communities expand into formerly wild areas, the higher the chances of running into the coyotes who live there. Here are five things the city of Austin says you should know:
1. They’re active at dawn and dusk
Coyotes, which use a variety of vocalizations to communicate, can be about 25 to 40 pounds. Be aware of possible coyote dens in parks or other natural areas. Coyotes are protective of pups and might view people or dogs as interlopers. Coyotes are most territorial from January to June when they den, mate with other coyotes and birth pups.
2. They eat prey and leftovers
Coyotes primarily hunt small mammals such as mice, rats and rabbits, but small house pets are vulnerable if left alone. They also scavenge for human and pet food left outdoors as well as for fruits and berries.
3. Eliminate outdoor food sources
That means, keeping trash and compost in a secure bin and clearing fallen fruit from under fruit trees. If you feed pets outside, bring any of their uneaten food inside.
4. They’re naturally wary
Hazing — such as waving your arms, shouting, throwing objects in its direction (but not at it), or spraying it with a hose — can reinforce a coyote’s wariness in encounters without harming it. Avoid hazing, though, if the coyote is sick, injured, with pups or out at night.
5. Go online for more info
For more tips on hazing and pet safety, visit austintexas. gov/department/coyotes-central-texas. For immediate assistance, call 311.
Coyotes are most territorial between January and June, when they den and mate.