Urban wildlife is a term that has been coined to describe wildlife that has adapted their lifestyle to living in the concrete jungles of cities and suburban neighborhoods.
As urban development continues to creep towards untouched wilderness there is going to be an increase in human-wildlife conflict. It is also inevitable that wildlife will keep adapting to the ever-changing environment and will start finding ways to survive amongst people. Certain animals have an easier time surviving in the urban jungle than others and the best way to avoid conflict is to learn how to adapt to these changes yourself.
Most residents think about squirrels, deer, raccoons and birds as wildlife. Some may even encounter a fox. However, in this part of Wisconsin coyotes are another common form of wildlife that people may encounter that they are not prepared to deal with. Coyotes (Canis latrans) are highly adaptive members of the canine family and have demonstrated an ability to survive in the most urbanized environments in cities across North America. The presence of coyotes on urban and suburban landscapes is neither surprising nor necessarily cause for concern.
Coyote encounters with humans continue to occur and the Wisconsin DNR has created a specific website for tracking and studying the human - coyote interactions. While most coyotes will avoid human contact, they may create a situation for contact if you have a small pet in the vicinity or food sources outside. Consider the tips below to reduce the chance of a human - coyote contact.
Tips for Reducing Human-Coyote Conflicts
- Keep pets like small dogs and cats inside and allow only safe access to the outdoors (fenced yards, leashes). Always keep pets in from dusk to dawn when coyotes are most active.
- Never deliberately feed a coyote or other wild mammal.
- Securely cover garbage cans and compost bins.
- Remove fallen fruit from yards.
- Eliminate opportunities for rodents to breed in / around your yard.
- Never deliberately approach a coyote and teach children to respect all wildlife from a distance.
- To prevent coyotes from entering your yard, consider removing unnecessary brush, installing a motion-sensitive lighting system, or installing a coyote proof fence. To be effective, fences must be at least six feet tall, have no openings greater than four inches, and should extend flush with the ground.
- If you do not want coyotes around your home, let them know that they are not welcome. If you see a coyote, shout and make noise, wave your arms.
Additional resources regarding coyotes in an urban environment: