Palmetto Bay Residents Learning How to 'Coexist With Coyotes'
When a cold spell hit the region, news reports abounded about how to respond to iguanas – described as being in a daze from the colder temperatures – falling from trees. While these reports may have raised eyebrows in other parts of the country, South Florida residents have long been finding coping mechanisms for iguanas.
Now residents in the South Miami-Dade County neighborhood of Palmetto Bay are being asked to co-exist with another type of species: coyotes. The village has booked a workshop with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on Feb. 20 to inform residents “about coyote biology and ways to coexist with coyotes.”
Palmetto Bay Mayor Eugene Flinn set up the meeting after several residents in Palmetto Bay and the nearby neighborhood of Kings Bay in Coral Gables reported seeing coyotes in October 2017. On his blog, Flinn posted photos that resident Juan Alayo had taken of a coyote on Ludlam (SW 67th Avenue) across from the Christ Congregational Church. “Beats frozen iguanas,” he wrote in the photo caption.
While some may consider coyotes an invasive species, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reports that coyotes have, in fact, been spotted in all 67 counties in Florida. “They are typically shy and elusive but encounters between people and coyotes in Florida are occurring more often,” the commission states on its website. “Coyotes help maintain balanced ecosystems by controlling the populations of rodents and small predators, such as foxes, opossums, and raccoons. They are native to North America, have been in Florida for many years, and will continue to make their homes around the state.”
While native to the state, coyotes can also cause harm, the commission acknowledges. On its website, the commission offers the following advice for dealing with coyotes:
What should I do if I see a coyote?
“Coyotes are not large animals and rarely pose a threat to people, especially adults. They can be curious but are also timid and generally run away if challenged. If a coyote approaches too closely, there are methods you can use to deter it and frighten it away. Hazing the animal by making loud noises and acting aggressively will typically cause a coyote to leave an area, but you may need to increase and continue hazing efforts until the coyote is effectively deterred and leaves the area for good. There are several methods of hazing that are effective with coyotes.”
How can I protect my pets from coyotes?
“Coyotes can and do prey on domestic cats and small dogs. Most coyote attacks on pets occur either at night or in the early evening or morning hours (dusk and dawn). To protect your pets, do not allow them to roam freely.”
How can I prevent problems with coyotes?
“Never feed coyotes either intentionally or unintentionally. Do not place food outside that will attract wild animals. Clean up pet food, fallen fruit and seed around bird feeders — coyotes will be drawn to and eat all of these potential food sources since they are opportunistic feeders. Coyotes that associate places where people live as an easy place to find food will gradually lose their natural fear of humans.”
Why can’t coyotes be relocated or completely eliminated from my neighborhood?
“Removing coyotes is an inefficient and ineffective method to control populations. New coyotes move into areas where others have been removed. When there is pressure (such as trapping) placed on coyote populations, the species can actually produce more pups per litter in response and populations can quickly return to original size.”