TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) – The deep snow on the ground makes it difficult for coyotes to hunt their regular prey like rabbits, mice and squirrels.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources Private Lands Wildlife Biologist Rick Peercy said when winters are hard, it’s not uncommon for coyotes to wander into urban areas to prey on small pets.
“They’re going to get a search image going and once they realize how easy it is to locate a cat, if it’s worthwhile, then they are going to continue to do so,” Peercy explained.
Peercy said the DNR has received a few reports of coyote sightings in the area this year. While no animal attacks have been reported, in the last 13 years – he’s had many reports on small dogs and cats being attacked by coyotes.
Peercy said it’s important to always be aware of your surroundings and to keep an eye on pets.
“I have received calls of people walking their pets in the evenings and they have actually been confronted by coyotes. One or two at a time,” Peercy remembered.
Peercy adds feeding pets inside, securing garbage bags and bringing in bird feeders at night can help keep coyotes away.
“If you got food stuff, like garbage, don’t put it outside in the trash containers or things like that. Put it inside somewhere. It alleviates the problem of searching for it and finding it. It’s an easy food source,” explained Peercy.
Peercy said if you happen to see a coyote in your yard, the best thing to do is stand tall and scare it away. It’s important not to corner it.
“Don’t ever corner one. The one thing you do not want to do is corner a coyote. They will turn and attack,” warned Peercy.
Peercy said shouting or making loud noises usually scares them away.
West Lafayette Police Department and Lafayette Police Department both said they haven’t received any reports of coyote sightings so far this year.