As an Atlanta Metro resident, surely you have heard the stories or personally witnessed our next door neighbors. The neighbors that I am referencing in this post are “Coyotes”.
If you are new to the Atlanta Metro area or are planning your move, please be mindful of this common Georgia wildlife.
- Here is a little history on Coyotes from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources: Wildlife Division
Among the non-native wildlife found throughout the southeast, coyotes are unique in their ability to rapidly acclimate to a variety of habitats. With the extirpation of the red wolf in the last century across Georgia, the coyote (Canis latrans) has been able to fill a once occupied void and now can be found statewide.
Resembling a small dog in appearance, distinguishing characteristics of a coyote include pointy ears and snout, mottled color fur pattern ranging from black to reddish-blonde and a bushy tail. As with most canines, coyotes are equipped with keen eyesight and an acute sense of smell to seek out their diet of small mammals, carrion and succulent vegetation. High pitched cries, shrieks or yips can be heard late in the evening as these animals communicate. Growling, barking and whining also are commonly used methods of communication. Breeding usually occurs in late winter to early spring with five to seven pups born in excavated dens or brush piles. Pups are weaned at about five to eight weeks of age. Socially, these creatures may mate for life and commonly can be found living within a small community (or pack) of related individuals. If mated with dogs, a female coyote can produce a coyote/dog hybrid called a “coydog.” However, this is uncommon due to the unsynchronized breeding cycles of the two species.
- In many Cities throughout the Metro Atlanta area, you will find this common saying: “Coyotes are here to stay”.
In the City of Johns Creek for example, this useful information is available to residents:
Canis latrans are present in all 159 counties in Georgia. In suburban areas, coyotes typically live in wooded neighborhoods or areas like the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, but they can range. Coyotes are generally frightened of humans and will avoid contact when possible. However, they will prey on cats, small dogs, rabbits, chickens, etc.
Although Coyotes don’t usually attack humans, they are animals that adapt to their environments. Because of this it is important to be careful and mindful of them, especially while being out at night.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has a list of trappers for nuisance wildlife, but trapping and removing coyotes is often a temporary solution. When one family is removed, others will move into the vacated territory. As long as food exists, coyotes will be present.
- Bring pets indoors at night – this is the coyote’s primary hunting time.
- If a pet must be kept outside, install fencing and motion-activated lighting.
- Clean and store grills when not in use.
- Keep pet food indoors or feed your pet indoors, and refill bird feeders in small amounts. Large amounts of bird feed attract squirrels and other rodents, which draws coyotes.
- Keep trash can lids securely fastened, or store trash cans in a secured location.
- Cut back brush where coyotes can hide.
- Do not feed coyotes!
If you encounter an aggressive animal of any kind, please call 9-1-1. For more information, please see the synopsis on coyotes from Georgia Wildlife.
Read more information on Coexisting with Coyotes from the City of Roswell.
Do you have any questions or comments? Please let me know!
updated from a previous post in 2016.