Resident sightings and phone calls concerning coyotes often increase this time of year.

Resident sightings and phone calls concerning coyotes often increase this time of year.

During winter months, coyotes are more easily seen because of the lack of vegetation and harsher conditions, which can force them to hunt during daylight hours.

Coyotes evoke different feelings including fear and excitement, depending on the audience. They do attack domestic animals on occasion, including dogs and cats, because they often see pets as a threat to their offspring, territory or food source.

Attacks on humans are rare. According to Dr. Stan Gehrt, a leading coyote researcher from The Ohio State University, 142 attacks have been recorded throughout North America. Around one-third of these attacks involved coyotes that were being fed, at times inadvertently, by humans.

There are several tips you can use to deter coyotes, including yelling, waving arms, throwing items in the direction of an animal, spraying water from a hose, and making loud noises.

Never leave before a coyote and keep yards clean and free of easy meals for wildlife, including unpicked fruits and vegetables, unclean recyclables and uneaten bird food.

When walking pets, carry pepper spray, vinegar in a squirt bottle or a long stick to deter a coyote. Also, make sure to keep your pet in close proximity to you, preferably on a leash no longer than six feet.

Additional information about coyotes and other wildlife can be found at http://dublin.oh.us/nature/wildlife/coyotes.php.

Mėme Migliore is the city of Dublin nature education coordinator.

Mėme Migliore