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Coyotes Find a New Home in Wood Lake Nature Center

While coyotes aren't typically found in urban areas, some have found their way to Richfield and other area cities. If you have a small dog, don't live it outside unattended!

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Those homeowners who share a border with have been hearing and seeing coyotes recently.

"Coyotes?" you ask. "In an urban area?"

Yes. Urban coyotes are becoming more prevalant in the Twin Cities metro area, and now, they've made their way to Richfield and Wood Lake Nature Center.

At a , former Richfield Public Schools Superintendent Barb Devlin said she heard and coyotes in the yard of her Oak Grove Boulevard home. Last week, another area neighbor said he saw what looked like three coyotes in his yard on the same street.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said not only are urban coyotes becoming more prevalant, but they are also becoming used to humans. Wood Lake Nature Center Director , said it was thrilling that coyotes have found a way to live amongst us.

"Our growing human numbers have fragmented natural areas," Shragg told Richfield Patch. "Making it impossible for most predators to thrive and making it easier for herbavores to overpopulate." 

For example, coyote-like predators such as wolves are very useful in helping control the populations of rabbits, geese and other wild animals that are lower on the food chain and have high reproductive rates.

However, Shragg said people should keep pets, especially small dogs, monitored when left outside. She said she knows how sad it can be to loose a pet to a coyote, as her uncle lost two of his beloved dogs to the predator. were reportedly killed last year and .

"This is a painful and sad issue," she said. "But easily remedied by not having pets outdoors alone."

In addition, Shragg invoked the classic line of "don't feed the animals." She said that "we need coyotes to be wild and not get used to us or fed by us."

***

See below for more DNR tips on living with coyotes.

Do:

  • Secure all garbage containers, wildlife feeders and other food sources to prevent coyote access.
  • Confine small dogs and cats in kennels or supervise them when outside.
  • Vaccinate all pets for rabies, distemper, parvo and other diseases, as recommended by a veterinarian.
  • Consider installing coyote-proof fencing.
  • Harass (by chasing, shouting, etc.) any coyotes that do not immediately run from people.

Don’t:

  • Feed coyotes.
  • Leave pet food outside.
  • Allow cats and small dogs outside, unattended.

SOURCE: “Urban Coyotes” page on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website.

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