Once somewhat rare in our area, an increasing number of coyotes have been spotted in Mentor over the past few years. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources reports that coyotes are present in all 88 Ohio counties. Coyotes are naturally timid creatures. Seeing them or hearing them howl is not a cause for concern. However, there are a few tips you’ll want to keep in mind if you encounter a coyote.
What is considered natural coyote behavior?
Coyotes are active day and night. They are omnivores, eating primarily rodents as well as insects, fruits, and vegetation. Hunting is a natural behavior and it is normal for a coyote to take advantage of any opportunity to eat. If you have coyotes in your area, to minimize the potential for conflict it’s important to keep small pets on a leash, and monitor them outside, especially around dawn and dusk. It’s also important to keep any food source, such as trash or pet food, secured.
What is considered abnormal coyote behavior?
Being approached or followed by a coyote, or a coyote directly entering your path is abnormal and should be reported. Habituation can occur when people feed coyotes, consciously or by accident, by leaving food sources in their yard. Coyotes learn to associate people with being fed and become less afraid of them. Coyotes typically give birth to pups between April and May, so their protective instincts may be higher during this period.
What should I do if a coyote approaches me?
If walking with a pet, do not release them from their leash; keep them under control the best you can. A coyote will likely view a dog as a threat. Attempt to startle the coyote by waving your arms, yelling in a deep voice, and trying to appear as large as possible. If the coyote does not run away in response, continue hazing behaviors and back away from the coyote. Do not turn your back or run.
To report a coyote sighting, or if you have any questions, contact the City of Mentor Natural Resources Division at (440) 974-5717 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional information can be found at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources website.