Coyotes in Florida
The following information for the people of Florida regarding coyotes has been produced by The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). The presence of coyotes has been documented in all 67 Florida counties.
What do coyotes look like?
Coyotes are medium-sized mammals in the same family as dogs, wolves and foxes. Their fur is generally salt-and-pepper gray, with tan or brown patches. They have a thick, bushy tail, long, pointy nose and pointy ears. Adults in Florida weigh between 20 and 35 pounds on average, and males are generally larger and heavier than females.
Have there been encounters between people and coyotes?
Encounters between people and coyotes in Florida are occurring more often. As coyotes become used to people, they may lose some fear of people, so sightings of coyotes during the day may increase. Coyotes also become more difficult to scare away if they lose their fear of people. But, like other wild animals, that tendency will vary from one coyote to another. Several coyote attacks on dogs and cats have been reported over the past few years in Florida. In some cases, pet owners were present at the time of the attack. However, no humans have been the target of attacks in Florida.
How can I protect my pets from coyotes?
Don’t allow your dogs or cats to roam freely. Most coyote attacks on pets occur either at night or in the early evening and early morning hours (that is, dusk and dawn). During those times especially, be careful if you’re going to walk your pet in wooded areas or areas where there are a lot of other plants growing, which could hide coyotes. Also, keep your dog close, on a short leash. Keep cats indoors. When cats roam freely there is an increased risk that they could be attacked by coyotes.
Be cautious if you are going to pick up your pet when you see a coyote. Picking up a pet may stop a coyote attack, but it can also lead to a situation in which an aggressive coyote continues to go after that pet while in the arms of a person.
A well-maintained fence may assist in keeping coyotes out of yards. If pets are kept in a fenced yard, be sure the fence is high enough to prevent coyotes from jumping over it. Also, check the bottom of the fence regularly to make sure there are no holes that would allow coyotes to get underneath. Consider adding an electrified fence if you think additional protection is needed.
How can I report a coyote attack or encounter?
You can report the incident to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission by calling the regional office nearest to you or by calling 888-404-3922.
Source—the complete article on coyotes in Florida can be found at: http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/profiles/mammals/land/coyote/faqs/