Coyotes are native to North America and are common in the tristate New York area. And they don't just live in captivity at the Queens Zoo. Several coyotes have been spotted in suburban areas of northern New Jersey, Bronx, Queens, and now even in Manhattan -- with sightings in Chelsea and Riverside Park.
Coyotes typically feed on small rabbits, mice, voles, squirrels, and kangaroo rats, according to the Department of Interior's Bureau of Land Management. But in urban areas, coyotes go after pet cats and small dogs and scavenge in human trash.
Your chances of encountering a coyote are small, but state officials say you can take some precautions to reduce the chance of coming teeth-to-flesh with the wild animal. Here are tips from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation:
- Do not feed coyotes.
- If you see a coyote, be aggressive in your behavior - make loud noises, wave your arms, throw sticks and stones.
- Do not allow pets to run free.
- Do not feed pets outside.
- Make any garbage inaccessible to coyotes and other animals.
- Eliminate availability of bird seed. Coyotes are attracted to the concentration of birds and rodents that come to feeders. If you do feed birds, clean up waste seed and spillage.
- Fencing your yard may deter coyotes. The fence should be tight to the ground, preferably extending six inches below ground level.
- Remove brush and tall grass from around your property to reduce protective cover for coyotes
- Teach children to appreciate coyotes from a distance.
- Regulated hunting and trapping increases the "fear" coyotes have towards people.
- Ask your neighbors to follow these same steps.
For more tips and information about coyotes, click here.