PHOTO: Coyote Spotted In Boy Scout’s Burien Backyard
BTB Reader (and Boy Scout) Jared Daniel Sharp sent us the following photo on Wednesday morning (April 20th), showing a coyote traipsing through the backyard of his home, located near Highline Medical Center:
I just saw a Coyote in my back yard (we live right behind the hospital).
You can see to the left, the coyote is on the ramp.
– Jared Daniel Sharp
Lifeguard, Boy Scout, Student
If you’re wondering what to do, or how to react when you see a coyote around Burien, here are some tips, courtesy of the Department of Fish and Wildlife, which has a lot more detailed info on its website:
Potential dangers of coyotes:
- Coyote diseases or parasites are rarely a risk to humans, but could be a risk to domestic dogs in Washington. Anyone handling a coyote should wear rubber gloves, and wash their hands well when finished.
- Canine distemper, a disease that affects domestic dogs, is found in our coyote populations. Have your dogs vaccinated for canine distemper to prevent them from contracting the disease. (For more information on canine distemper, see “Public Health Concerns” in Raccoons.)
- Canine parvovirus, or “parvo” is another disease that affects domestic dogs and is found in our coyote populations. Parvo vaccinations have helped to control the spread of this disease. Despite being vaccinated, some dogs—especially puppies and older domestic dogs—still contract and die from parvo. Parvo is usually spread to coyotes and domestic dogs by direct or indirect contact with infected droppings. Exposure to domestic dogs occurs where dogs assemble, such as parks, dog shows, kennels, pet shops, and where they have contact with coyotes. Contact your veterinarian for vaccination information if your dog is ill.
- Mange occurs in coyote and red fox populations in Washington. Mange is caused by a parasitic mite that causes extreme irritation when it burrows into the outer layer of the animal’s skin. The mite causing mange is fairly species-specific, and thus it would be difficult for a human to contract mange from an infected wild animal.
- If a person is bitten or scratched by a coyote, immediately scrub the wound with soap and water. Flush the wound liberally with tap water. In other parts of North America coyotes can carry rabies. Contact your physician and the local health department immediately. If your pet is bitten, follow the same cleansing procedure and contact your veterinarian.
Food and Feeding Habits:
- Coyotes are opportunists, both as hunters and as scavengers. They eat any small animal they can capture, including mice, rats, gophers, mountain beavers, rabbits, and squirrels, also snakes, lizards, frogs, fish, birds, and carrion (animal carcasses). Grass, fruits, and berries are eaten during summer and fall.
- Grasshoppers and other insects are important to juvenile coyotes learning the stalk-and pounce method of hunting.
- Pairs of coyotes or family groups using the relay method pursue small deer and antelope. These mammals are important food in winter; fawns may be eaten in spring.
- Coyotes eat wild species, but they are known to eat pet food, garbage, garden crops, livestock, poultry, and pets (mostly cats).
- Coyotes occasionally kill domestic dogs (and foxes) that they consider territorial intruders. Coyotes are also very protective of their young and will attack dogs that get too close to their den and pups. Note: The list of killers of domestic cats and dogs includes other dogs and cats, vehicles, bears, cougars, bobcats, foxes, disease, and furious neighbors!
- Most hunting activity takes place at night. Undisturbed and hungry coyotes will hunt during daylight hours, and may be seen following farm machinery, catching voles and other small prey.
What to do if you see one:
- Scare it away by making noise (ie: banging pots and pans)
- Don’t leave small children unattended where coyotes are frequently seen or heard
- Never feed coyotes
- Keep garbage cans secured and upright
- Prevent access to fruit and compost
- Feed dogs and cats indoors
- Prevent the buildup of feeder foods under bird feeders
- Keep dogs and cats indoors at night
- Keep shrubs pruned so coyotes can’t hide in them
- Build a coyote-proof fence
- Keep poultry in secure pens
- Remove or bury dead livestock