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Our ability as a City and as a community to coexist with and manage our coyote population is a group effort. If you have questions or concerns about coyotes contact the Animal Services Unit.
Reporting Coyote Sightings and behavior allows our unit to monitor and collect data that is essential to determine the appropriate response.
Please keep in mind that Facebook, Nextdoor, Instagram, Twitter etc... do not send us reports on coyote activity. Please give us a call or use our Coyote Sighting and Behavior Reporting website.
How do we classify Coyote Behavior Coyote Behavior Classification Definitions:
OBSERVATION: The act of noticing signs of a coyote(s), such as tracks, scat, or vocalizations, but without visual observation of the coyote(s).
SIGHTING: A visual observation of a coyote(s). A sighting may occur at any time of the day or night.
ENCOUNTER: A direct meeting that is between human and coyote(s) with no physical contact and that is without incident.
UNATTENDED PET ATTACK: Coyote(s) kills or injures a domestic pet while pet is free-roaming, walking off-leash more than six feet from a person, or on a leash longer than six feet.
LIVESTOCK LOSS/DEPREDATION: Coyote(s) kills or injures livestock.
INCIDENT: A conflict between a human and a coyote where the coyote exhibits any of the following behaviors: growling, baring teeth, lunging or making physical contact with person.
A human is not bitten.
ATTENDED PET ATTACK: Coyote(s) kills or injures a domestic pet while attended: Pet is on a leash less than six feet in length or is in the presence of a person less than six feet away.
PROVOKED HUMAN ATTACK: A human is bitten by a coyote(s) and the involved human had encouraged the coyote to engage. Examples include a human hand-feeding a coyote, approaching a coyote with pups or intervening in a coyote attack on a pet.
UNPROVOKED HUMAN ATTACK: A human is bitten by a coyote(s) when the involved human does not encourage the coyote to engage.
Coyote Plan FAQ:
Q: Since this is an island can't we just kill them all and remove the problem?
A: The short answer is NO. Research has shown that when lethally controlled, coyotes exhibit a “rebound effect” (a surge in their reproductive rates), allowing for quick regeneration of their population numbers.
The disruption of their family group structure leads to an increase in the number of females breeding in the population, and the increase in available resources leads to larger litter sizes, earlier breeding ages among females and higher survival rates among pups. This allows coyote populations to bounce back quickly, even when as much as 70% of their numbers are removed through lethal control efforts. For these reasons, lethal programs are not effective at reducing coyote populations, and non-selective coyote trapping programs are not effective at solving conflicts.
In addition, coyotes removed from an area will quickly be replaced by transient coyotes looking for a vacant home range. If the root causes of human-coyote conflicts have not been addressed, incoming coyotes may quickly become nuisance coyotes as well. It is far better to have well-behaved resident coyotes who will hold territories and keep transients at bay then to risk having to deal with newcomers who do not know the “rules.”
Q: Why don't we take them somewhere else, we can relocate coyotes right?
A: Unfortunately No.
Relocation is not effective for a few simple reasons.
Have you ever heard that nature hates a vacuum. If a coyote is removed from a location but the attractants in that area have not been removed another coyote will quickly take it's place.
Coyotes will do anything in their power to return to their territory. A coyote trapped on the east end of Galveston and relocated on the west end of Galveston will likely return to Galveston's east end within 48 hours.
Coyote's do not assimilate. The relocated coyote will be seen as an intruder by the coyotes in the relocation area.
Texas Health and Safety Code prohibits the relocation of coyotes by law as they are a rabies vector species. This means we can't ship them off to some fancy place in west Texas.
Relocation is inhumane, ineffective and prohibited by law. There is not a sanctuary or zoo accepting unwanted coyotes.
Coexistence is Key
Coyotes as a species are here to stay. The impact coyotes make in each of our neighborhoods and the community as a whole is the direct result of how human behavior shapes coyote behavior. That means that YOU have the power to affect change in your community. We must coexist with our neighbors even the wild ones.
Hazing simply means scaring a coyote away from you, your yard, or your neighborhood. Coyotes are members of the dog family, and just as we train our dogs to adopt good behavior, we can reinforce a coyote’s natural instinct to avoid people without harming them. Using a variety of different hazing tools is critical because coyotes can habituate to individual items, sounds, and actions.
Yell and wave your arms while approaching the coyote.
Use noisemakers (e.g. your voice, whistles, air horns, bells, soda cans filled with pennies or dead batteries, pots and pans banged together).
Use projectiles to scare not harm (e.g. sticks, small rocks, cans, tennis balls, rubber balls).
Try other repellents (e.g. hoses, water guns with vinegar water, spray bottles with vinegar water, pepper spray, flashing lights, or walking sticks).
There are several coyote hazing videos to watch on YouTube.
Download our Coyote Hazing Guidelines HereVersion OptionsCoyote InfoHeadline
Protecting your pet cat
Coyotes aren't the only threat that cats face when they go outside there are far greater dangers. When you allow your cat to roam freely outdoors, even for short periods of time, you expose her to perils such as cars, dogs, diseases, coyotes, poisons, and cruel people. If you want your cat to be safe, keep her indoors.
Some people let their cats outside because they mistakenly believe it's cruel to keep cats indoors. The truth is that cats who are protected from the dangers outside live longer, happier lives. (You'll be helping your neighboring wildlife stay safer and happier as well.)
Protecting feral cat colonies
People who feed feral cats are often concerned that coyotes might prey on the cats. These concerns are well founded, as coyotes will be attracted to both the outdoor pet food and the cats themselves as prey.
Coyotes will kill a feral cat to protect its food source and territory from a smaller competing predator. This is especially true when these mismatched predators come to meet where there is a resource worth fighting over.
Here are some general suggestions for keeping such cats safer:
Feed cats only during the day and at a set time if you must feed outdoors feed for only 15 minutes and pick up any leftovers immediately. Excess food can be a siren call for coyotes and for rats. Both increase the likelihood of a negative encounter
Provide escape routes for cats
In treeless or open areas, erect "cat posts"—long pieces of wood (four inches by four inches or corner posts) that stand out of the ground at least ten to twelve feet. These can be climbed by cats but not by coyotes
Elevate feeding stations beyond coyotes, but not the cats reach
Discourage/harass coyotes seen on the property. Go after them aggressively, using the techniques described in our coyote hazing guidelines. Making them feel uncomfortable will encourage them to stay out of the area.