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Pet owners continue to see coyotes near them in Cape Coral

Pet owners in Cape Coral say coyotes are wandering their neighborhoods, and Cape Coral Police Department issued a warning to community members to be vigilant.

We spoke to pet owners Thursday who encountered or saw recordings of coyotes near them in Cape Coral recently.

Tori Layman says she’s been on edge ever since a coyote approached her dog two weeks ago.

“It was just right over here on the lawn at 5:30 in the morning, my normal routine, and one just happened to run up right near her,” Layman said. “Thankfully, with a lot of loud noise and me screaming at the top of my lungs, the coyote ran away.”

A coyote spotting was also reported in the area of the 500 block of Nicholas Parkway East, which is minutes from Layman’s home, adding to her fears.

“I’m completely concerned. During the day, I’m watching. I’m looking this way. I’m looking that way,” Layman said. “I just hope that everyone is just a little more cautious, just to keep their dogs and their cats safe.”

Layman is not the only one who has seen coyotes roaming her Cape Coral lawn. Rebecca Hornbeck’s security camera captured three coyotes scurrying through her yard in the middle of the night recently.

“Very surprised to see not only the one but three coyotes,” Hornbeck said. “Typically, it’s the neighborhood cat that I catch … on the camera, so I was quite surprised and then concerned for the little pet that I have, the little dog that I have.”

Wildlife experts say we share the land with coyotes, but if you avoid leaving food around and if you keep your pets close to you, coyotes likely won’t bother you.

“Keep your cats indoors, and don’t let your dogs off of a 6-foot leash, especially at night or even in the early morning,” said Meredith Budd, the regional policy director of Florida Wildlife Federation.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says it’s rare for coyotes to approach people. If they do approach you, make loud noises to scare the them away. You can also protect your pets by keeping them within a fence that is at least 6-feet tall if they are outside.

“We are also in their territory, so we have to learn to adapt,” Layman said.

See tips from a previous story about coyotes in Southwest Florida below:

Tips if you encounter a coyote

  • Immediately act aggressively toward the coyote. Wave your arms, throw things like stones, and shout at the coyote
  • Make yourself appear larger by standing up or stepping onto a rock, stump, or stair. Convince the coyote you are a potential danger to be avoided
  • Where coyote encounters occur regularly, walk pets at other times besides nighttime hours, dusk and dawn
  • Carry something that will make noise or scare the animal, such as a small air horn, solid walking stick, or golf club. These things may deter
    the coyote at close range
  • Make a “coyote shaker” by putting a few washers, pebbles or pennies into an empty soft drink can. Wrap the can in foil and tape closed
    Continue to make sufficient noise until the coyote leaves; otherwise the coyote will learn to wait to leave until the activity stops

Other ways to protect yourself and your pets

  • Do not allow pets to roam freely
  • Most coyote attacks on pets occur either at night or at dusk or dawn. During these times especially, avoid walking your pet in heavily wooded or vegetated areas where coyotes could hide
  • Keep your dog close, on a short leash
  • Keep cats indoors
  • Coyotes may be attracted by food and garbage

More tips

  • Although most of us wouldn’t think of feeding a coyote directly, indirect feeding can be just as troublesome. Don’t place food outdoors that will attract wild animals. This includes pet food, bird seed, and even water
  • Store your trash in a secure area until the morning of pickup or use animal-proof containers

For more information, see FWC’s “Living with Coyotes” guidelines.

Reporter:Breana Ross
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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