Critter of the Month: Coyote
At a quick glance, coyotes can be mistaken for a domestic dog, like a German shepherd or collie. But this wild dog species can be trouble if they take up residence in your neighborhood.
Coyotes are abundant in Mississippi and are natural predators, preying on animals like small dogs, cats, birds, and rodents. They also can damage land.
You may only hear coyotes and never actually see them. Their distinguishable howl is one sure sign they’ve taken up residence in your area. Most coyotes are active at night or during times when humans are not around. Coyotes are found in both rural and urban areas. You’ve likely seen videos of them roaming city streets before!
If you suspect a coyote is frequenting your yard or neighborhood, supervise your pets when they are outside. Due to their predatory nature, the coyote may view your pet as a food source. It’s also a good idea to remove pets’ outside food and water. Leaving these items out will only encourage coyotes to continue to hang around your house.
While coyotes rarely attack humans, it’s not outside the realm of possibility since they are wild animals. Coyotes commonly attack when they feel threatened and during the spring when they have pups. If you ever encounter a coyote, don’t panic. While it’s tempting to run away, it’s better to try and scare it away by shouting and throwing something at it.
The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks considers the coyote to be a nuisance animal. If you have concerns about a coyote in your area, contact MDWFP or reach out to your local Extension agent for help.
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