Wyoming will host a Coyote Information Meeting Monday, April 2, 7 p.m. at 400 Wyoming Avenue (formerly DiStasi’s). Naturalists from Great Parks of Hamilton County and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources will discuss coyote behavior and how to avoid inadvertently attracting to your yard.

The following story was written using information from two websites: coyotesmarts.org/coyotes101, and ohiodnr.gov.

Are Relative Newcomers to the Landscape

What did Wyoming look like before European pioneers dared to venture here?

The Mill Creek Valley was once a dense wilderness. American Indian tribes traded throughout these parts, but wild animals were the main inhabitants of the forests. Early settlers saw black bear, cougars and wolves, fox, lynx, bobcats, weasels and beaver, and the woodland bison that trampled a path along the opposite side of the valley, known then as Buffalo Ridge, now as Ridge Road.

Settlers would not have encountered coyotes, however. lived in far western areas and rarely competed with wolves for territory. They first appeared in this region after 1842, when the last wolf in Ohio was killed. Because of their versatility in adaptation, coyotes have become entrenched in Ohio rural and urban life.

More than any other urban wild animal, generate concern in populated areas, proven by a quick scroll through posts on social media sites such as Nextdoor.com. Although coyotes can be a threat to small dogs, sedentary cats, and backyard chicken flocks, there are practical measures you can take to minimize worries about these intelligent animals.

Coyote Facts and Family Life

Eastern are larger than their western kin but still only weigh between 20-50 pounds. Those who live near humans are usually nocturnal, hunting at night or in the early morning to avoid human interaction. Coyotes mate for life, hunt together and share the responsibility of caring for pups. Rural coyotes eat small wildlife like mice, rabbits and insects, but urban coyotes will eat almost anything, including rats and uncovered garbage.

are most often seen during mating season (January-March). If spotted, they are usually crossing streets or backyards, a behavior that isn’t unusual because they are moving between their den and hunting areas.

A coyote is a very vocal animal with an extensive repertoire of calls. The yips you hear in the late evenings announce the reunion of pack members, probably returning from a hunt.

Control Measures Not Very Effective

Aggressive policies meant to limit coyote populations are only temporarily effective. Being omnivores, eat almost anything, allowing them to survive under harsh conditions. Only the alpha male is allowed to sire pups, but if the alpha male is killed, the pack goes into survival mode and all males begin to breed, increasing the coyote population exponentially.

Encounters with

usually flee at the sight of a human, but if you see a coyote linger or approach, or if one is in your yard, there are some things you can do to drive it away. Put your arms up over your head and yell. Spray it with a hose or have loud noise-makers handy.  Coyotes are easily trained to avoid danger. But coyotes will always come back to a food source, so be sure to bring in the dog or cat food and tighten up garbage cans. Also keep a close eye on small dogs, cats and chickens. Raise bird feeders to get them out of reach, too.

When to report a coyote sighting?

Coyotes are susceptible to diseases like canine distemper, parvovirus and mange, but racoons are far more likely to spread rabies than coyotes. If you see a coyote that looks sickly or has patchy fur or a scraggly tail, report it to the Wyoming Police Department, 513-821-0141, to avoid the possibility of spreading diseases.

Of course, if you see a coyote carrying a box marked ACME or TNT, and certainly if a coyote is putting up illegal street signs saying “Detour” or “Free Bird Seed,” don’t hesitate to report that sighting. Wink.