Colorado Parks and Wildlife
If it seems that coyotes are less tolerant of human presence during the months of January and February, there is a biological reason: this is their breeding season. As coyotes pair up to breed, they may be more territorial than usual and defend their space as they carve out a place to have their young. Citizens are well-advised to be aware of their presence and the potential for conflicts with humans in metro and rural areas.
Last year during this time period, Colorado Parks and Wildlife received reports of: a young girl nipped at by a coyote in Centennial; an aggressive coyote approaching a grandmother walking her grandson in a stroller in Aurora; and four separate incidents of a mangy coyote baring its teeth at citizens in Lakewood.
Similar to last year, there have been several reports of coyotes with mange throughout the Denver metro area. Mange is caused by small skin parasites called mites. It is highly contagious and pet owners are strongly advised to keep their pets away from coyotes.
“In addition to transferring disease, unfortunately, coyotes can see our pets as a prey source; so pet owners need to be extra diligent about protecting their animals,” said Liza Hunholz, area wildlife manager for Denver. “We hate to see citizens lose their pets to wildlife, but wildlife can’t tell the difference between your dog and a skunk, raccoon, or other wild prey.”
Coyotes are omnivores and eat everything from bird seed to rodents, berries to garbage, and sometimes free-roaming cats and dogs. But Coloradans can share the landscape with these wild neighbors by following three important tips:
1) Don’t feed wildlife!
2) Protect your pets!
3) Haze coyotes when you see them!
CPW recommends that all dog owners take the following precautions:
-Always supervise your pet outside, especially at dawn and dusk.
-Keep your dog on a short leash while recreating, even in areas where off leash is allowed—avoid retractable leashes.
-Do not allow your dog to play or interact with a coyote.
-If possible, pick up your dog when coyotes are visible.
-Avoid potential den sites and thick vegetation.
-If you must leave your dog outside, secure it in a fully enclosed kennel.
In addition, cat owners should recognize that the only way to guarantee your cat’s safety is to keep it indoors. Outdoor cats also face potential death from cars, diseases, foxes, parasites, raccoons, dogs, and birds of prey, such as owls.
Although naturally curious, coyotes are usual timid animals and normally run away if confronted. However, more than 25 people have been bitten by coyotes in the Denver metro area since 2007. Coyote attacks on humans are rare and can usually be traced to people feeding them, a nearby den site where a coyote might feel threatened, or another canine or pet in a coyote’s presence. If you witness a coyote or coyotes behaving aggressively, please report the incident to a local Colorado Parks and Wildlife office as soon as possible. If you are bitten or scratched by a coyote seek medical attention immediately.