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Coyotes are often considered a problem for farmers and other owners of agricultural land. These days, however, it is becoming more and more common for homeowners to complain of nuisance coyotes. The animal is found across almost all of the United States of America, ninety percent of it, to be exact. With more wild spaces — the places that coyotes would ‘hang out in’ — being cut down and taken away by humans, the chances of coming across various wild animal species are higher than ever, and will continue to grow. It’s important to protect your home BEFORE a problem arises. As they say, prevention is much better than cure. It always will be.
Cunning, fast and rather manipulative creatures, a coyote will be in and out of your property before you’ve even realized what’s happened. They can entirely eradicate a chicken coop, destroying all livestock it can get anywhere close to. It’s not just animal matter that the coyotes will be looking for, however, and they do eat plant matter too. This will cause you even more problems when the beasts get on your land.
What do coyotes eat?
Coyotes are hunters and scavengers, which means they’ll chase after food, or just eat food that they find lying around. At the same time, they are opportunistic. They will steal food from other animals if the other animal is stupid enough to leave it lying around.
Small animals make up the bulk of the coyote’s diet, and these include rats, mice, gophers, squirrels, beavers, and more. They will also go after snakes and lizards, if they happen to come across one they can chase, catch, and then tear apart. Frogs aren’t safe either, and even birds can come under attack, leading to a coyote-chicken problem.
When animal matter is not available, plant matter will be eaten instead. This includes berries, fruits, seeds, grasses, nuts and more. If they spot a bird feeder that seems to be easy pickings, they’ll snap up the treats. They’ll destroy flower gardens, fruit and vegetable growing patches, and even just your lawn. Trees and bushes aren’t safe. Even insects can be added to the list. They really aren’t picky eaters, and that’s what makes your land so great for them. In just one garden alone, there can be so many different sources of food for these scavengers, including your garbage can, compost heaps, flower beds, and more. Even pet food that has been left out on the porch for your pets will be stolen by a passing coyote (or other wild animal) if they get a moment alone with it. Some animals are incredibly blasé and will even steal it from beneath you … although you might not always notice.
The point? Knowing what coyotes eat will help you greatly when it comes to making sure they don’t ever haunt your land again. When you remove the things that these creatures are looking for - all wild animals, not just coyotes - you are adding one layer of protection to your home. The more you change or modify and the more barriers you put up, the safer your home will be.
If you have flower beds, or areas where fresh fruit and vegetables are growing, your best chance at protecting them is with a physical barrier. This can be a fence, mesh wiring, or other hardwearing and durable material that cannot easily be chewed, gnawed, scratched, or torn away from the structures that are keeping it in place.
Bird feeders can be modified so that they are only reachable by the birds they were intended for, and garbage cans be moved inside. Perhaps the garage or an outbuilding? These buildings should (obviously) be sealed too. If you can’t move the garbage can inside, replace plastic ones with durable, metal ones, and make sure they have lids attached too. These can be secured in place using bungee cords or even chains, if you’re finding your land is constantly coming under attack.
How to keep coyotes away from your property
Coyotes are quite shy animals. They’ll be more inclined to run away than stay and fight, and that’s one thing that definitely works in your favor. You will usually find that any animals disperse when you get too close to them.
There are some groups of these creatures that have become almost tame in nature. This is usually because they are so used to living alongside humans, hiding whenever they come around, stealing food when they aren’t looking. They’re pretty good at it too — this hide and seek mission. Many homeowners know that coyotes have been around, because they can see the visible after effects, as well as hearing them howling and calling. They don’t usually see them though, and that’s what makes life so difficult. When you can’t see what you’re up against, or when what direction it is coming from, it’s going to be hard work to keep the monsters at bay.
When you consider that coyotes are quite shy, making a lot of noise and generally causing a ‘human’ commotion is usually enough to persuade them to go away again. This could be shouting, waving your arms around, and even clapping or stamping when you see them close to your property.
Many homeowners don’t see the animals, however, only seeing evidence of them hanging around, or noises as they call and howl to each other. Making a human commotion is okay when you CAN see these creatures, but what about when you can’t? As we’ve already suggested, moving all traces of food away and out of your yard is a smart decision. The more you have lying around to attract nuisance wildlife, the higher the chances of coming under attack. Alongside that, fencing can help. It will need to be quite a high fence though. Many nuisance wildlife can climb and jump. This is even more so the case if you have trees around — the branches are essentially walkways for where these creatures want to go. You will also need to remember that many nuisance wildlife can dig too. This means that you will need to add protection both above and below the ground. If you are going to use a fence to protect your property, consider building it at least five or six feet high, away from any trees or overhanging branches, and also protected with a further fence, built out of mesh wiring or hardware cloth, below the ground. It will need to go as far down as about 18 inches. If you don’t do this, the fence will be pointless. Wild creatures will still be able to get both above and below it.
Solar lights are another good idea, but you will need be careful where you put these. Just one wrong angle on these lights installed in your yard and you could accidentally point a bright beam of light right into a neighbors window. Being solar paneled, the lights won’t cost you much to run, although can be quite costly to buy and install. They work by coming on whenever a sensor is activated, sending a bright beam of light out into the yard. If a wild critter has set the sensor off, they’ll be in for a rather bright shock. They’ll assume that a human has ‘put the lights on’ and, therefore, scamper off. If this happens repeatedly — every time that a coyote comes onto your property — it will eventually get the hint and move along.
You wouldn’t like if it someone kept turning the lights on when you were trying to sleep, right?
There are actually many things that you can do to stop coyotes and other wild animals from entering your land. The best advice that we can give you is to use as many different methods as possible. The more you arm yourself, and the more information and knowledge you have, the better your chances of getting the critters out, and keeping them out too!
For more information, you may want to read How to get rid of coyotes or click on one of these guides that I wrote:
How To Guide: Who should I hire? - What questions to ask, to look for, who NOT to hire.
How To Guide: do it yourself! - Advice on saving money by doing wildlife removal yourself.
Guide: How much does wildlife removal cost? - Analysis of wildlife control prices.