Highlands Ranch is coyote country. No matter where you live in Highlands Ranch, coyotes are present. They are a highly adaptable animal and humans inadvertently provide them habitat and food sources. Normally coyotes feed on animals such as rodents, rabbits and other small prey items. However, they are opportunistic predators and will take a cat or small dog. We all need to take precautions to protect our pets, guard against human/coyote encounters, and keep the coyotes wild.
The biggest problems occur when people feed coyotes –either deliberately or inadvertently. Once a coyote gets food from or around humans, it associates humans with food and ignores its wild instincts to stay away from and fear humans. Trash, dog food, bird feeders, and compost piles are all potential food sources for coyotes.
When coyotes lose their natural fear of humans, problems are likely to occur. Coyotes should be afraid of people and it is okay to “haze” a coyote that comes too close. Make loud noises, throw rocks, or even use pepper spray. These hazing actions will teach coyotes that humans are not safe to approach and will reinforce their natural fear of humans; reducing the chance of a dangerous human/coyote encounter.
Tips to avoid dangerous coyote encounters:To Discourage Coyotes Near Homes:
-Frighten coyotes with loud noises such as whistles, blow horns, or banging two blocks or pots and pans together.
-Remove food attractants such as pet food, table scraps on compost piles, fallen fruit and spilled seed beneath bird feeders.
-Remove vegetation and brush that provides cover for prey and hiding cover for coyotes; trim lower limbs of shrubs and conifer trees.To Protect Pets and Children:
-Provide human supervision while outdoors, even in your own backyard.
-Do not allow pets or children to run loose in areas where there is coyote activity. Keep pets on leash or leave the area when you see a coyote.
-Although rare, coyotes have been known to injure people. Most of these incidents involved people feeding coyotes. Teach your family not to approach wildlife and to never feed wildlife.If you encounter a coyote:
-Do not turn your back or run from a coyote
-If approached or followed by a coyote, make loud noises, yell and make yourself look big by opening up your jacket and/or raising your arms.
-If the coyote approaches to an uncomfortable distance, throw rocks or other objects at the coyote.
-Adults should keep themselves between the coyote and small children.
When coyotes are causing problems or concerns around your home, you can contact the Highlands Ranch Metro District Open Space department. The Metro District manages the open spaces, parks, and trails, within the developed areas of Highlands Ranch and have park rangers that can respond to coyote complaints around your homes. The park rangers can be reached at 303-791-2710.
Additional information from Highlands Ranch Metro District on Preventing Conflicts With Coyotes
For further information on living with coyotes go to: http://cpw.state.co.us/learn/Pages/LivingwithWildlife.aspx