Coyotes are very adaptable and though their preferred prey is rabbits, mice, birds and other small animals, they will use whatever is available, such as garbage, pet food and domestic animals that are left unattended and carrion that they find. And, like our Jersey black bears, they are learning to be quite tolerant of human activities and allowing both species access to human food and garbage can lead to problems.
Although attacks on humans are extremely rare in eastern states, as with any predatory animal they can occur and in suburban and urban areas, coyotes have occasionally attacked small pets.
Coyotes play an important role in the ecosystem, helping to keep rodent populations under control.
The coyote was never introduced or stocked in New Jersey, but has firmly established itself in our area through its extremely adaptable nature.
Eastern coyotes differ from their western counterparts with a larger average size and various color phases, including blonde, red and black.
|photos via http://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/|
- put garbage in tightly closed containers that cannot be tipped over to prevent bear and coyote foraging.
- reduce the protective cover for coyotes by clearing brush and dense weeds from around homes.
- be more cautious about children and pets being on their own even in their backyards.
- in response to a coyote encounter, do not run, because that initiates the "prey instinct" in the animal and the coyote will go into pursuit mode. Rather, act aggressively - "yelling, waving your arms, stamping your feet, or throwing stones” until it leaves.