Nature Belongs to All
Warner Bros had it right to name their character “Wile E. Coyote.” Coyotes are intelligent and adaptable, but are also maligned and misunderstood creatures. Just the name conjures all kinds of misconceptions based on unfounded fears. It is worth taking a brief moment to better understand the importance coyotes have in all ecosystems, even urban and suburban environments.
Coyotes are considered a keystone species, an apex predator, and their presence is important to maintain a healthy ecosystem. They prey on smaller predators (skunks, racoons, foxes) as well as small herbivores like gophers, squirrels, hares, etc. Many of which are considered unwanted pests. In urban areas, coyotes and birds of prey provide us a free service curbing rodent populations which could easily overwhelm if these predators weren’t present. In our Nature’s Archive podcast last year, Dr. Peter Alagona shared detailed insights about coyotes and other animals using our urban environments.
The adaptability of coyotes is impressive when you consider that they inhabit all parts of North America in all types of biomes. Since coyotes are here to stay, we need to learn how to co-exist. Knowledge is power and knowing that coyotes pose little threat is important. An encounter in nature should need no response unless the animal approaches you. If that happens, haze the animal by yelling, waving arms around, and clap your hands, until it retreats. Within our urban neighborhoods, don’t hurt the animals, but make sure they stay wild and do not become accustomed to foraging in our backyards.
As humans continue expanding into wildlife habitat, our interactions with wild animals will inevitably increase. Listen here regarding ways the city of Reno, Nevada helps citizens navigate issues of living with wildlife.
Animal encounters are wonderful moments to observe beautiful creatures and should be treasured. Keep in mind that wildlife are wary of humans and will avoid chance meetings as long as they stay wild.
Wild is the key:
– don’t attempt to befriend a wild animal
– don’t feed them
– give wild animals space allowing them to continue on their business
It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and get too close for the ultimate photograph. If the animal reacts to you, you are too close.
Depending upon where you live, other large wildlife have also adapted to live near humans and it’s vital to understand how to coexist with all mammals such as bobcats, bears, bison, wolves, panthers, and more. Apex predators truly keep a balance in our ecosystems keeping rodent populations in check. Of course, the system only works if we refrain from using deadly methods to control other unwanted visitors to our yards, parks, and other outdoor spaces.