Coyote sightings on rise in South Florida – tips for avoiding encounters

Coyote South Florida

Coyotes are not new to South Florida. The elusive and intelligent animals made a comeback to the state more than 40 years ago. But a recent increase in sightings in area neighborhoods along with the loss of family pets have many residents on high alert.

Local trappers have reported a hike in calls from pet owners concerned about the safety of their furry friends. Gated entrances don’t seem to be a deterrent to the native North American coyotes either, according to sightings in Garden Oaks, a gated Palm Beach Gardens community where a pair of coyotes killed a family cat.

Experts believe the mild South Florida climate is especially attractive to coyotes. It also allows their mating season to continue almost year-round.

Here are some tips for avoiding a run-in with a coyotes:

  • Be on the lookout all year long
  • Use caution with pets, especially smaller dogs and cats; bring them inside at night
  • Don’t leave food (or pet food) outside
  • Secure garbage in bins with lids

If you do see a coyote, do not run! A coyote’s instinct will cause a “chase” reaction. Although it may be contrary to a person’s natural response, facing the animal while backing away slowly is considered the safest method.

Making noise, clapping, shouting, or banging loudly may deter a curious coyote. The animals are usually shy and not looking for altercations, but they could become more aggressive if they are on the hunt for food.

If you are in a safe area when you encounter the animal(s), call your local animal control center and let them know about the sighting.

Coyote or wolf?

The coyote has a narrow snout and small nose pad, with large ears relative to its head size. The wolf has a wider snout and large nose pad, with small ears relative to its head size. Wolves do not currently inhabit Florida, at least not in the wild.

 

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