“Florida has so many unusual animals to deal with, here is another to add to the list,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent homeowners insurance agency.
The coyote population is increasing across Florida. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is working to educate and answer questions Floridians have regarding coyotes.
The FWC has documented the presence of coyotes in all 67 counties across Florida. They are members of the dog family and weigh between 20-30 pounds. Coyotes can thrive in urban, suburban and rural areas because they’re adaptable, according to the FWC. They can eat almost everything humans eat, including fruits, nuts and seeds, and they can eat pet food, garbage, rodents, domestic cats and small dogs. It is essential to secure your garbage cans to keep them away.
The FWC reports, coyotes are not large animals and rarely pose a threat to humans. If one approaches you, shout or wave your arms. Swinging a golf club or turning on the hose are effective deterrents. Teach your children to do the same.
“Most Floridians have little experience with coyotes and are uncertain how to react to their presence,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent homeowners insurance agency.
The Urban Coyote Research Project has six easy steps to help people avoid conflict with coyotes.
Do not feed – The most effective way to prevent coyote attacks in your neighborhood is eliminate wildlife feeding, they will lose their fear of humans.
Do not let pets run loose – You probably have coyotes living close but don’t know it. Keep your pets on a leash when hiking and do not leave them unattended when outside.
Do not run from a coyote – If you encounter a coyote, shout or throw something in its direction. Do not run and do not play the victim.
Repellents or fencing may help – Repellents can help in a small yard. Fencing is helpful if it is more than six feet high with a roll bar across the top.
Do not create conflict where it doesn’t exist – If a coyote is avoiding pets and humans do not seek out opportunities to aggravate the animal.
Report aggressive, fearless coyotes immediately – Signs of aggression are similar to those shown by domestic dogs and include agitated barking (unprovoked), raised hackles, snarling, growling, and lunging.