Keep Coyotes at Bay

The good news is that spring has sprung. The bad news is that means the City is getting more reports of coyote sightings in University Place neighborhoods.

Although coyotes are common in urban areas, especially as their natural habitats are encroached upon by development, their presence can be unsettling.

Here are some key points to avoid attracting coyotes to your neighborhood and what to do if you spy one:

  • Don’t create a coyote all-you-can-eat buffet. Never feed them intentionally and avoid inadvertent feeding by securing all trash and compost in tightly closed containers. Pick up fallen fruit under trees and shrubs.
  • Bird feeders can be a neon sign for coyotes. Although coyotes’ primary diet consists of rodents, rabbits and birds, consider that mice are attracted to waste seed cast to the ground by birds. If coyotes know mice are feeding, they are likely to join in the feast as well.
  • Keep small dogs and cats inside during non-daylight hours. Not only may they be prey to  a hungry coyote, but they may carry diseases or parasites that although rarely a risk to humans, could be a risk to domestic dogs. Make sure dogs are vaccinated for canine distemper to prevent them from contracting the disease from coyotes.
  • Although coyotes tend to avoid humans, if you or your children encounter one, don’t run. Put your arms above your head to look as large as possible, throw objects in its direction or clap your hands, and shout in an authoritative voice. Coyotes are naturally timid so you want to leave them with a negative association of humans.
  • If you spot a coyote or suspect you’ve lost a pet to a coyote, notify your neighbors. Once a coyote finds easy prey, it will continually hunt in the area.

Residents who encounter dangerous wildlife are urged to contact Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) at 877.933.9847 or call 911. Keep in mind that live trapping is not successful with coyotes. For a list of licensed wildlife control operators or trappers, visit the WDFW website.