Coyotes are interacting with the residents of central Florida at an increasing rate. This is primarily due to the fact that the increase in the construction of new neighborhoods is cutting into their natural habitats in the surrounding wooded areas. These animals, who once had many acres to live and hunt are now being “downsized” into small sections surrounded by humans. The coyotes are finding themselves with little hunting grounds and are frequenting the developments to find their next meal looking at food sources such as garbage cans and small house pets left out unattended at night. Coyotes have become emboldened by the fact that they have been unopposed in this area for so long, and are starting to become more at home as nighttime bandits in neighborhoods.
Residents have been advised to take precautions such as keeping their pets on leashes when they walk them, do not let their pets out unattended at night, and to carry an air horn or other loud noise maker that would startle and scare the animals away if approached. Residents have also been urged not to go out by themselves when it is dark outside and if they do encounter a coyote, be as “large” and loud as possible (stand tall, wave your arms and scream and yell loudly). For more information on what to do if you encounter a coyote please visit http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/coyotes/tips/hazing_guidelines.html