TWRA shares how to keep pets safe during coyote mating season.

Coyote walking in Cherry Creek State Park, Aurora, Colorado (Getty).

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.WATE) — Coyotes mating season is underway, meaning over the next few months, coyotes are more likely to be seen, especially in more urban areas. Here’s what you need to know and how to keep your pet safe.

Matt Cameron, spokesman for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, spoke with WATE on Thursday and explained that coyote mating season is roughly between January and March each year. During this time, coyote activity, and sightings, increase.

“Especially with male coyotes, just like males of any animal species, they move around looking for a suitable mate and so people are more likely to see them, especially during daytime hours. Because they’re basically nocturnal animals,” Cameron explained.

Coyotes typically have a diet of small, furry rodents such as mice, moles, and shrews. Cameron explained that although coyotes often cannot hunt pets, they can easily attack and kill a small pet.

There are some practical steps you can take to keep small pets safe. For those who take their pets outside, keeping them on a short leash while they are with them and keeping them on an enclosed run if they are unattended can help protect pets from coyotes. can

“We all want to let our animals out and enjoy nature. It’s perfectly natural to do that, but you just have to be mindful if we’re doing it and leaving them unattended. , so they can fall prey to coyotes. So as responsible pet owners, we need to take care of them as much as you can,” Cameron said.

Although pet owners may be tempted to leave pets in a fenced area or outside on a chain, these options may not be as safe from coyotes as possible. According to Cameron, that would require a fence about 6 feet high that is also buried six inches into the ground to keep coyotes out because they are both skilled climbers and diggers. Similarly, a chain or cable system may contain pets, but it also leaves them exposed to coyotes.

Cameron also pointed out a fact that can be overlooked, which is that spaying and neutering can help keep dogs safe. Because coyotes are members of the canine family, they can interbreed with dogs, although Cameron said that doesn’t happen often.

“It’s just like a white-tailed deer. You know they’re very aggressive. (Male coyotes) want to go ahead and ‘do the job’ at this point, but if the female isn’t ready, they’ll go for someone else.” Will be looking for a female. This could be your unpaid female dog.”

During mating season, male coyotes will also defend their territory against any male canines, including possibly a male dog that has picked up the scent of a female coyote.

Additionally, Cameron suggests making sure pet food isn’t left out, as well as not throwing scraps or trash out to avoid attracting coyotes.

As coyotes are seen more frequently, some may suggest killing or trapping them to make these areas more secure. Not only have coyote control efforts over the centuries been largely ineffective, doing so may simply open up the area for other coyotes to take over.

“You can hire a trapper if you have a problem with a coyote that you know of and come and remove the animal or what you have to keep in mind is if you kill the animal. is, a hunter kills it, or a trapper comes along. And they trap it and move it or kill it, there are other coyotes in that animal’s place,” Cameron explained. “So relying solely on hunting or trapping to try to control these animals is probably not going to be a good long-term solution. What we have to do is try to minimize their impact on us because they are there. shall be.”

Experts say if a coyote isn’t causing problems, such as attacking or killing pets or livestock, the best course of action is to leave them alone, Cameron added. Removing a non-aggressive pack of coyotes allows a more aggressive pack to move in and take their place.

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