Many BHC residents have reported spotting coyotes and other native wildlife within the neighborhood. While the appearance of wildlife, especially coyotes, and the result of sightings can certainly be unnerving, there are some important considerations and precautions of which residents should be aware. Here for you is information shared with your Association by local wildlife experts who have extensively studied the problems related to urban coyotes, which, for years, have been a major fear factor in countless Central Texas subdivisions:
Urban and suburban coyotes, like urban deer, are symptoms of a broader issue. Cities continue to expand housing subdivisions and other human development into what used to be open range wildlife habitat, especially on the expanding fringes of large metropolitan areas. This is increasing the potential for encounters and conflicts between people and wildlife.
Trapping and similar nuisance control actions cannot eliminate urban coyote problems. The real solution and the greater need facing Texans right now is education. Residents need to be informed and empowered to take steps to coexist with coyotes and other urban wildlife.
There are some common sense precautions we should take to manage coyotes:
- Do not feed coyotes! Keep pet food and water inside. Keep garbage securely stored, especially if it has to be put on the curb for collection; use tight-locking or bungee-cord-wrapped trashcans that are not easily opened.
- Keep compost piles securely covered; correct composting never includes animal matter like bones or fat, which can draw coyotes even more quickly that decomposing vegetable matter.
- Keep pets inside, confined securely in a kennel or covered exercise yard, or within the close presence of an adult.
- Walk pets on a leash and accompany them outside, especially at night.
- Do not feed wildlife on the ground; keep wild bird seed in feeders designed for birds elevated or hanging above ground, and clean up spilled seed from the ground; coyotes can either be drawn directly to the seed, or to the rodents drawn to the seed.
- Keep fruit trees fenced or pick up fruit that falls to the ground.
- Do not feed feral cats (domestics gone wild); this can encourage coyotes to prey on cats, as well as feed on cat food left out for them.
- Minimize clusters of shrubs, trees and other cover and food plants near buildings and children’s play areas to avoid attracting rodents and small mammals that will in turn attract coyotes
- Use noise making and other scaring devices when coyotes are seen. Check with local authorities regarding noise and firearms ordinances. Portable air horns, motor vehicle horns, propane cannons, starter pistols, low-powered pellet guns, slingshots, and thrown rocks can be effective.