Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fall Brings On "wild" Times

It’s that time of year again where we see a natural increase in wildlife activity in the urban environment. With the increase in fox and coyote movement, it’s normal to see them during all hours of the day and night. This anticipated behavior occasionally raises questions about safety in neighborhoods, so here are a few facts and helpful tips when dealing with coyotes in your area.

Coyotes generally won’t attack a dog for food. Rather, they view dogs as competition for territory, food and mates. Coyote’s favorite foods are small mammals (mice, voles, shrews, rabbits). Coyotes will also eat feral and free-roaming cats. However, research done in the Chicago region has shown that even in an urban environment, coyotes prefer their “natural” foods of small mammals and carrion.

The most effective way to prevent a bad encounter with a coyote is to make sure all of your behavior reinforces its natural fear of people. Clean up food around your house that coyotes like, such as bird seed, messy garbage cans, or food left out for pets. These types of food sources are not natural and teach coyotes that if they risk coming close to people, they will be rewarded with food. Finally, keep all pets inside at night and watch small dogs while outside, even during daylight hours.

For additional questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Chief Animal Control Officer Eric Thompson at 913-895-6279 or email at eric.thompson@opkansas.org. Or visit the City of Overland Park FAQ’s webpage at http://www.opkansas.org/Frequently-Asked-Questions/List/Coyotes