PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Coyote breeding season will soon be upon us, which is why the R.I. Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is warning residents to be wary.
Morgan Lucot, a furbearer biologist with the R.I. Department of Environmental Management (DEM), tells 12 News coyotes are a necessary part of the state’s ecosystem.
“We know that we’ve got a fairly healthy population of coyotes [in Rhode Island],” Lucot said. “Coyotes are very important … they help control the populations of other animals, which is really good for the environment.”
Lucot said coyotes are extremely adaptable and can survive in rural, suburban and urban communities.
“I think we tend to get more calls regarding conflict from urban areas,” she said. “That’s because there’s more people there to interact with these coyotes, and they might be less used to interacting with wildlife.”
There have been hundreds of coyote sightings reported across the Ocean State in recent years, according to Lucot.
Lucot said coyotes are primarily attracted to reliable food and water sources, and will populate based on the abundance of those resources.
The DEM suggests homeowners take the following steps to minimize coyote encounters:
- Remove or secure any outdoor food sources such as trash bins, dumpsters, compost, pet food and gardens.
- Trash should be secured in containers and only put out on the curb the morning of trash collection.
- Do not place meat scraps or fatty items in compost piles. Make sure compost is secure.
- Avoid feeding pets outside or bring in dishes at night.
- Secure livestock in pens or buildings. Electric fencing can be used to protect chickens and rabbits.
- Keep pets indoors unless supervised.
- Never intentionally feed coyotes, as it’s illegal to do so in Rhode Island.
If someone were to come into contact with one, the DEM suggests scaring it away by doing one or more of the following:
- Be as big and loud as possible. Do not run or turn your back.
- Wave your arms, clap your hands, and shout in an authoritative voice.
- Make noise by banging pots and pans or using an air horn or whistle. The sounds also can alert the neighbors.
- Throw small stones, sticks, tennis balls, or anything else you can lay your hands on. Remember: the intent is to scare and not to injure.
- Shake or throw a “coyote shaker” – a soda can filled with nuts and bolts, pennies, or pebbles and sealed with duct tape.
“We call it hazing,” Lucot explained. “When you’re sitting on your porch and a coyote comes into your yard to look around … make yourself big and make yourself known.”
Anyone who spots a coyote is urged to report it to the DEM Division of Fish and Wildlife by calling (401) 789-0281 or emailing email@example.com.
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