Coyotes spotted in Farmington Hills area

By: Zachary Manning | Farmington Press | Published April 7, 2021

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FARMINGTON HILLS — A local resident recently caught on camera what is believed to be a coyote chasing a cat around his property.

It may be hard to distinguish between a coyote and large dog at first, but according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website, coyotes generally have grayish-brown fur, with white fur on the belly and the throat. However, patterns may vary.

Coyotes typically weigh anywhere from 25 to 45 pounds, and their fur is thick and dense, giving them a larger appearance.

“March is the coyote breeding season, so we always have an increase in activity this month and throughout the next couple of months as coyotes try and find mates, try to find a den site, try to find a place to raise their pups,” Michigan DNR Wildlife Outreach Coordinator Rachel Leightner said.

Though coyotes can be pleasing to the eye, Leightner advises people to keep their distance, especially with pups. She said coyotes have a natural fear of humans, but pups haven’t developed that fear, so they are unpredictable.

In terms of avoiding conflict with these wild animals, keeping small pets inside or accompanying them outdoors is the safest move. Though coyotes have a shy nature, they are also naturally curious creatures and may venture to an area if they smell something that could lead to a meal.

Coyotes have a keen sense of smell, so garbage or pet food that is left out overnight may draw their attention. Coyotes also like to take advantage of the small mammals and birds that bird feeders and gardens attract. If there are coyotes in the area, eliminating potential food sources may make the area less appealing.

“Coyotes are really only in the area if you’ve got something that’s attracting them,” Leightner said. “Particularly bird feeders. They’re going to bring in birds, but they also bring in things like squirrels and rabbits to eat the birdseed that has fallen. If you’ve got one of those, a lot of times you’re going to have a coyote or some other type of animal, like a fox, that comes in and tries to take advantage of those easy food sources.”

Should anyone encounter a coyote, there are certain precautions to take. The main focus is to keep a distance, as they are wild animals and unpredictable.

If someone sees a coyote in the area, they can try to scare it off by yelling, clapping or making other loud noises. With a natural fear of humans, coyotes tend to leave when frightened.

Just like any animal, coyotes should be treated with respect. It is advised to never feed or approach a coyote. Sightings can be reported to local authorities or the MDNR.

For more information about coyotes or any other wild animals, visit https://www.michigan.gov/dnr.

“Most coyotes are really skittish, so they’re going to run if they’re scared. Even if they are looking for their next meal or if they’re eating their meal, you can still scare them off, and that’s what you should do,” Leightner said.

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