Archive for Sunday, January 18, 2015

Coyotes reported within Lawrence, likely due to a cold winter

January 18, 2015


The recent cold and lean months are responsible for an increased coyote presence within Lawrence city limits, local ecology officials say. However, Lawrencians need not be afraid of the more active canines.

Lawrence Police Sgt. Trent McKinley said Animal Control officers regularly hear of coyotes in the area. Most recently, one was reported around Naismith Park, just east of Iowa Street.

Kansas University professor of ecology Robert Timm said there probably hasn't been an increase in the local coyote population, nor have the creatures been displaced by construction. Most likely, he said, the animals are more active simply because of the season.

“We see coyotes right now because they're more active during the day, because they're hungry,” Timm said. “We've had a pretty cold winter, and there aren't that many rabbits down here, or mice, so the coyotes are actively foraging.”

Timm said it's not uncommon for large cities like Chicago to see a coyote population living within city limits. The coyote interlopers usually are looking for an alternative food source to their usual diet of fruit, insects, mice and rabbits, he said.

“Many of those aren't available right now,” he said. “And in town, they're going to be eating roadkills.”

McKinley said authorities have not received any reports of coyotes acting aggressively or sickly. Rather, the coyote reportedly living in the Naismith Park area appears to be afraid of humans, he said.

Timm agreed, adding that coyotes are skittish by nature and would likely avoid contact with humans, rather than attack them.

Coyotes are also much smaller than most people assume, Timm said. On average, they weight about 25 pounds.

“They look larger than they are because they're long-legged, and this time of year they've got a thick winter coat,” he said. “But it's an animal that is smaller than most of our dogs.”

McKinley said if residents see sick or aggressive animals they should call Animal Control at 785-832-7590. All other calls should be directed to a private pest control company.

Sick and aggressive coyotes are rare, Timm said, but an opportunistic coyote might prey on small pets left outside to roam after dark.

“There's not really a rabies danger. That's in general exaggerated,” Timm said. “But folks who have very small dogs or cats should be careful with them at night.”

Those who suspect a coyote may be living in their neighborhood shouldn't feed the animals, Timm said. Otherwise, the coyotes should keep to themselves, he said.

“So if you do see a coyote just enjoy that we live in a community that's green and has wildlife,” Timm said.


Lawrence Morgan 3 years, 5 months ago

This is a project for schools:

How many coyotes are there in Lawrence, and Douglas County?

Who has pictures of Lawrence coyotes? What do they eat when rabbits and mice are not available?

How do coyotes get along with raccoons? Both are featured in the mythology of American Indian tribes.

This is a good example of where, although the Journal-World has great photographers, citizen photographers should be allowed to put up pictures of coyotes they have seen in an ongoing series of photographs and articles.

In Golden Gate Park (San Francisco) there are now about 50 coyotes. Dog owners are afraid of them, but they quickly run out of sight before they come close to any human being.

Here is a blog of a friend of mine who has taken many pictures of coyotes and raccoons in Golden Gate Park:

Does anyone know of a similar blog for Kansas?

Don Brennaman 3 years, 5 months ago

I wish there was a neighborly way to place a little "coyote crossing" flag of some sort along the streets where the critters have been observed in the neighborhood. They'd be a lot more appreciated than some of the other signs we see around town.

Clara Westphal 3 years, 5 months ago

I have seen pumas on KU West Campus just west of the Lied Center. I also saw a skunk slip into a drain at Murphy Hall. I bet that was an exciting day in the music dept.

Daniel Reinigungsmittel 3 years, 5 months ago

About two weeks ago, I spotted two full-grown coyotes in Naismith Valley park (in the field east side of the creek) between 24th and 27th street. I got within about 30 yards. They were pretty thick and not particularly afraid when I approached them. Watch your kitties.

Eric Moore 3 years, 5 months ago

I took a video on night in the field behind my apartment near Rock Chalk Park and you can hear a family of coyotes having a family fight. They are quite loud.

Rick Masters 3 years, 5 months ago

The main danger with a coyote in your neighborhood is when he straps on rocket skates. (Any spring-loaded contraptions should probably be avoided as well.)

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 3 years, 5 months ago

Give old Wiley a break. He exemplifies perseverance. Of course, there's the whole beating a dead horse analogy too.

Marc Wilborn 3 years, 5 months ago

At least in the rural part of Douglas County, renewed interest by many residents in field grazed chickens is making contacts with humans much more frequent. As these new hobbyists slow down their chicken hobby during the colder months, these coyotes have to eat somewhere. We have several packs on our farm.

Tammy Yergey 3 years, 5 months ago

A coyote killed my 17 lb dog at Clinton Parkeay and Kasold about 5 years ago. My mom saw if happen. Watch your pets as they are opportunists.

Leslie Swearingen 3 years, 5 months ago

I understand that coyotes do have to survive anyway they can, but this is a horrible thing to have to watch. I am sorry you lost your dog and I am sorry your mom had to go though that.

Curtis Lange 3 years, 5 months ago

This is news? I used to seem them occasionally when I lived in Hutton Farms. Also used to see them when I lived at 12th and Ohio; they were great at clearing up the rabbit population. Maybe I just don't see the big deal with living on the western edge of Olathe now where we hear them howling all the time.

Ronda Miller 3 years, 5 months ago

The coyote presence is much greater than this article implies. I live in the 6th St., and Lawrence Ave., area close to the golf course. We have seen coyotes for years running through our side yard, yelping in packs around my house, fighting in the street. They are NOT shy or afraid of humans at this point. They laze licking their leg in our side yard. I didn't mind them until one grabbed our Maltese over a year ago. The neighbors helped do a search. I received a call from a neighbor the following day stating they also lost their small dog to coyotes, and they'd seen one looking happy lounging in their yard just that morning. They also said coyotes were coming into their yard in full daylight while people were outside.

I contacted the City Animal Control and was told coyotes have as much right to be in the city as I appreciate that.

I contacted a specialist in Nebraska and he was kind enough to share this info.

1) the city is feeding coyotes via compost and allowing chickens. 2) coyotes will become tame enough that they will take household pets and will approach them on a leash as they become more comfortable. 3) coyotes will begin to attack humans (children) if they need a food source.

Ways to prevent coyote kills. 1)don't throw scraps out, cover compost, keep pets inside. 2) use tall fences that are pointed at an angle to prevent coyotes from jumping them. 3) make lots of noise should you see a coyote (helps keep them afraid of humans). Grab a pot and bang on it, honk car horn, etc.

Good luck everyone.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 5 months ago

In the 1960s, there used to be a bounty on coyotes, specifically in Cheyenne County. I don't remember for sure what the bounty was, but I think it was $3. To collect the $3, you had to scalp the coyote, and include both ears.

I was along on one coyote hunt, and we shot a lot of coyotes with 22 rifles. They seemed to be all over the place, and I suppose that's why the bounty was in effect.

Unfortunately my aim was bad, and I didn't hit any myself.

Joe Blackford II 3 years, 5 months ago

My condolences to anyone who believes they have lost a dog to coyote(s). As they say on the Internet "it didn't happen IF you don't have a picture," which, as we remember, was KDWP&T'S perennial remark about mt. lions.

I traipsed a lot of pastures & fields with dogs in my youth. One a lab-dachshund mix, that as a puppy left home with her dachshund mom & littermates, travelled from Andover to Augusta, & was missing when the others were rescued. She showed up a couple of weeks later on her own. My Dad would boast that she never failed to find a downed quail; often besting trained dogs.

This was a time when you would see coyotes on barb wire fence posts & there was a bounty on coyote ears. She & our slightly larger dog often took on opossums & skunks. She would grab one end of a skunk & the unlucky dog the other. Skunks pull apart rather easily, usually without spraying. Alone, or with a dog or 2, I've NEVER HAD A RUN-IN WITH A COYOTE, which were often heard at night.

I was probably 10-12 when I killed my only coyote. When I got to the body, I vowed never to kill another.

As a park tech @ John Redmond, I came upon a coyote pup in the prairie. It did not run off when I got out of the truck, so I approached it. It was as curious as I, & I got within < 1' several times, before I left it alone.

While @ WSU, there were a # of sitings of a coyote roaming campus. A few months later, I would discover it was a "pet," kept by my next door neighbor. I sat down on the sofa in his house with several friends & he let the coyote into the room. The coyote ran around in a circle, smelling each of us. At a brisk run, it ran along the top of the sofa, & I would swear it ran across the wall (sorry, no pics). On the third pass, the coyote stopped at my spot & grabbed my arm, which was in my new down coat. The "owner" told me not to pull away, as I could feel teeth. He came over & spoke to the coyote as he opened its jaws & released my coat. No perforations!

While living out in the country (nearest neighbor ~ 2 miles), I was bicycling when I spotted a coyote coming towards me. To my amazement, it kept coming until I stopped & got off my bike. Suddenly, the coyote recognized me as a human & took off. Again, they are curious.

"coyotes will begin to attack humans (children) if they need a food source" SO WILL SOCCER PLAYERS. Fairy tales like this were told about bald eagles. I've yet to see any pics.

The KSU dining halls compost center is ~ 1 mi from our neighborhood. Perhaps that's why no coyote has ever dug up our compost pile. We've watched a beautiful winter coyote coat walk down the street, turn the corner & stop in the driveway of a neighbor (owner of Vista Drive In). I'm guessing it was more astute than some coyote "specialists."

Put a bell on your dog or cat. Give the coyote a warning that you're invading its territory. You will likely never see one. Your cat will likely never kill another bird.

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