Coyote infestations in a garden can be a significant problem for homeowners. These animals are known to dig up lawns and gardens in search of insects, grubs, and other small animals to eat. They may also raid gardens for fruits and vegetables.
- Digging or scratching in the lawn or garden beds, which can lead to damage to the roots of plants and the disruption of the soil structure.
- Damage to fruits, vegetables, or ornamental plants, as coyotes may chew on or break branches, leaves, or fruit.
- Visible tracks or scat in the area, which can indicate the presence of coyotes in the area.
- Unexplained disappearance of small pets or wild animals, as coyotes are known to prey on small mammals, birds, and reptiles.
- Hearing coyote vocalizations at night, such as howling or yipping, which can be an indication that coyotes are present in the area.
- Large amounts of fur, or feathers around the garden, indicating that coyotes are eating or caching prey in the area.
- Seeing coyotes or their tracks in or around the garden, especially at night or early in the morning, is a definite indication of an infestation.
What is a Coyote
A coyote is a mammal that typically has the following physical characteristics:
- Grayish-brown fur color, but can vary from blond to black.
- Pointed snout, with a sharp and narrow muzzle.
- Long, erect ears with pointed tips.
- Bushy tail, typically carried low to the ground.
- A body length of about 4 feet and can weigh between 20-50 pounds.
- Long legs and large paws, with sharp claws.
- Yellow or amber eyes.
- They are similar in size to a medium-sized domestic dog.
- They can be found in many different habitats, and are known to be adaptable animals.
Treating a Coyote Infestation
It may be necessary to use multiple methods in order to effectively treat a coyote infestation in a garden. For example, habitat modification alone may not be enough to keep coyotes away, so using repellents or trapping and removal in conjunction may be necessary. It’s also important to note that these methods should be implemented under the guidance of local wildlife management agencies and experts.
- Remove sources of food and water: Keep your garden free of fallen fruits, vegetables, and berries that can attract coyotes. Make sure that pet food and bird feeders are not left out overnight. Secure trash cans with tight-fitting lids, and consider using a locking device to keep them closed.
- Remove shelter: Coyotes will often use tall grass, bushes, or other dense cover as a place to hide or rest. Keep your lawn and garden well-maintained to eliminate potential shelter spots. Remove debris, tall grass, and other potential hiding spots.
- Fence: Building a tall and sturdy fence around your garden can help keep coyotes out. Make sure that the fence is buried at least 6 inches underground to prevent them from digging under it. The height of the fence should be at least 6 feet high and it should have a 45-degree angle extension at the top.
- Chemical repellents: There are a variety of chemical repellents available that can be sprayed or scattered in your garden to deter coyotes. These include those with a strong smell like ammonia or those with a bitter taste like hot pepper. These repellents should be applied around the perimeter of the area where coyotes are found and reapplied regularly as they lose their effectiveness over time.
- Noise repellents: Devices that emit loud noises or distress calls of coyote’s natural predators (such as wolves) can be used to repel coyotes from your garden. These devices can include ultrasonic sound emitters or radio-activated guard devices that emit predator calls. It’s important to note that these devices may not work for all coyotes and their effectiveness can vary.
Trapping and removal
- Trapping: Coyotes can be trapped using live traps or foothold traps. It is important to check traps regularly and release any non-target animals. To increase the chances of catching a coyote, baits such as meat, fish or other animal-based products can be used to attract them.
- Relocation: Trapped coyotes can be relocated to a more suitable habitat away from residential areas. It’s important to note that relocating coyotes can be illegal in some states or municipalities and should be done under the guidance of local wildlife management agencies.
- Professional help: Contacting a professional wildlife removal service to trap and remove coyotes from your garden may be necessary if the infestation is severe or if you’re not comfortable handling the situation. These professionals are trained and equipped to handle coyotes in a safe and humane manner.