Mansfield residents learning to live with coyotes
09/01/2014 12:00 AM
08/29/2014 4:45 PM
The coyotes haven’t moved out of Mansfield, but the human resident are learning how to live with them.
“They aren’t going anywhere,” said Lori Strittmatter, the city’s animal control manager. “We’re having fewer reports so obviously somebody is listening.”
A couple of years ago, the coyotes weren’t being very good neighbors, tearing up trash and attacking cats, dogs and even some ducks on the golf course. The city hired Adam Henry, a wildlife biologist with the Texas Wildlife Program, to trap in areas of the city where coyote attacks were reported.
Over 18 months, Henry trapped and euthanized a dozen coyotes, he said, costing the city approximately $1,500. Since then, reports of coyote sightings are down, Strittmatter said, but she doesn’t want Mansfield residents to get complacent. The coyotes are still here, she said.
“We are still tracking them,” she said. “People call all the time.”
Residents should continue to report sightings and attacks to Mansfield Animal Care & Control, Henry said. To report a coyote sighting, go to www.mansfield-tx.gov.
“That way we can hone in on where they are and take out the offending coyotes,” Henry said. “We know that they live amongst us before we start seeing them. I’ve seen traffic camera footage of coyotes on the streets of Chicago.”
People who find a dead animal can contact animal control officers, who can judge how the animal was killed and remove the remains, he said.
“An animal that has been consumed, we think it’s a coyote (attack),” he said. “Domestic animals are more likely to attack for a turf battle.”
And coyotes aren’t the only wild ones in the neighborhood. Besides opossums, armadillos, raccoons and snakes, there has been a bobcat spotted drinking out of a resident’s swimming pool near McKnight Park East. Animal control officers also picked up a dead bobcat on South Second Avenue, Strittmatter said.
Being aware that the animals are there and taking preventative action are the best ways to keep from having close encounters, Strittmatter and Henry said. Don’t feed them, don’t leave pet food outside, set trash out the day of pick-up, vaccinate pets and don’t run away from the coyotes if you encounter them, they said.
“Back away from the animal, don’t turn and walk way,” Henry said. “All the animals they hunt are running away.
“Make them leave,” he said. “If every encounter with them is a human walking away, they’re not going to be afraid. Make lots of racket and stand your ground.”
Bobcats are cats and like to leave on their own terms, Henry said.
Seeing a wild animal during daylight hours doesn’t mean the animal is rabid, he said. Look at the behavior of the animal, watching for aggression, foaming at the mouth, lethargy or wandering listlessly.
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