Urban Wildlife in the Neighborhood
The same sort of lush trees and foliage that make East Dallas an active to us also provides coyotes and foxes with a perfect habitat. In fact, they are some of the most adaptable urban mammals have lived among us for years. What can we do about them?
Well the good news is that they want to be let alone and will almost never attack humans or even our pets. Efforts to eliminate them will generally backfire. Nature has programmed them to increase their litter size when their numbers decrease. So really the best practice is to get along by following a few simple principles.
First and foremost, know what they eat. If you don’t make your back yard their buffet table, they’re less likely to pay a visit. Their main food source is small wild mammals such as rats, mice, rats, rabbits and squirrels. They also will eat insects, fruits and berries. Given the opportunity they would love to eat cat or dog food if it’s available. And of course and anything edible we put in the garbage they’ll do what they can to get. So by minimizing the possibility of attracting rodents and other food sources, you’ll minimize the possibility of attracting their predators.
Next, don’t tempt fate. Household pets are not an attractive food source to coyotes and foxes, and most wild animals will do what they can to avoid them. But they will fight if cornered. Dallas City Code states, “An owner of an animal commits an offense if he fails to restrain the animal at all times in a fenced yard, in an enclosed pen or structure, or by a tether or leash. “ So for your pets safety, please follow the code, particularly at night, to avoid clashes with the wild critters, stray dogs or cars.
If you do encounter one of these animals (and chances are you won’t), you can try scaring them with noise but you may find they’re conditioned to ignore you. The best way to scare them off is going to be an old fashioned garden hose or squirt gun. Believe it or not, that will intimidate them more than anything else you do. If you’ve got other questions, please take a look at www.911wildlife.com or this FAQ download.
This article originally appeared in the March 2012 Newsletter.