Living with coyotes: Minimizing the risk of encountering coyotes during mating season

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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) – Coyote mating season in North Carolina runs from January through March.

Whether you like them around or not, NC Wildlife Biologist Chris Kent says they are here to stay.

Kent hopes to teach people how to manage the wild animals at socially acceptable levels to keep everyone safe, adding they are lurking around in search of food.

“If you have small outdoor pets, cats and dogs, you want to be concerned – not only this time of year but really all year round,” Kent said.

Tips to minimize the risk of having coyotes come near your property:

  • Secure all food sources, like trash cans you keep outside and make sure all lids are secured
  • If you compost, do so in a container, as opposed to putting food scraps on the ground
  • Try not to feed your pet outside, and if you do – limit the amount of time the food is out

According to Kent, bird feeders also trigger coyotes and other animals.

“A lot of people have bird feeders in their back yard and many times seed drops on the ground. It can attract squirrels which then attracts other animals that can be prey for coyotes and foxes,” explained Kent, adding that where you live could also be an attractive habitat for coyotes. “If you live on a creek or a drainage way may times animals like coyotes will use those as wildlife corridors to move around, brush also attracts rabbits which then attracts coyotes.”

Coyotes are not just found in rural areas, Kent stressed they are heavily populating urban areas as well.

“May people think coyotes need wide open areas or areas of forests,” Kent said. “But coyotes, fox and raccoon have adapted well in human environments, and in neighborhoods, there is unlimited food sources, and there is not a lot of hunting or trapping pressure.”

Coyotes will give birth about two months after the mating season. A usual litter of coyotes is four to six pups.

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