The more that 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 if you have coyotes in your neighborhood:
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 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.