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RI Department of Environmental Management
DEM OFFERS SUGGESTIONS AND FREE BROCHURE ON AVOIDING COYOTES
PROVIDENCE - In response to heightened public interest, the Department of Environmental Management has made an informational brochure available about Rhode Island's coyotes. The Department receives an average of three calls per day from people who have sighted coyotes and are concerned about them.
According to Lori Suprock, a supervising wildlife biologist for DEM's Division of Fish and Wildlife, coyotes inhabit all of Rhode Island's cities and towns, except for Block Island. Most people equate coyotes with rural settings, but city dwellers must be equally cautious.
Coyote breeding season, which runs through March, is a time when these animals may act particularly territorial. For this reason, landowners should take extra precautions to prevent coyotes from raising their young on their property.
Coyotes are opportunistic predators who will hunt all mammals without distinguishing between domestic pets and wild animals. They sometimes prey on cats, and to a lesser extent, small dogs. However, coyotes tend to run from humans.
Homeowners should take appropriate steps to discourage coyotes from wandering onto their property. If this is not done, the animals will continue to return to the land, and train their offspring to do so as well. Residents should not shy away from the coyotes, but should make their presence known to the animals. Scare tactics, such as shouting or spraying with a garden hose, are particularly successful in driving away coyotes. Residents should never feed coyotes or leave pet food outside, which may alter the animal's behavior and help it acclimate to the area. Cat owners should avoid letting their pets out overnight, the time when coyotes are most active. Proper disposal of garbage will also deter coyotes.
The informational brochure, Understanding Rhode Island's Coyotes, is available from DEM's Division of Fish and Wildlife at 789-0281, or from DEM's Office of Technical and Customer Assistance at 222-6800.