January 10, 2018 07:02 AM
Updated January 11, 2018 02:17 PM
Are coyotes on the prowl in a South Miami-Dade neighborhood?
Apparently enough so that the village of Palmetto Bay has booked Feb. 20 for a workshop with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
At the free event, the commission will lead what Palmetto Bay promises to be “an informative workshop about coyote biology and ways to co-exist with coyotes.”
According to Palmetto Bay Mayor Eugene Flinn, “We have reports of a few cats taken. Many want to live and let live. A few want to hunt them or remove them.”
The wily coyote sightings have prompted several blog posts from Flinn since last summer.
In October, on his South Dade Updates blog, Flinn reported on a meeting the village held with a Fish and Wildlife representative.
“Palmetto Bay is a paradise that we humans share with many native and non-native animals,” Flinn wrote, citing crocodiles, alligators, eagles, marsh rabbits and owls as denizens of the tree-lined community.
“We do note that there are some animals that we do want to keep a close eye on — including those designated as ‘invasive species,’ ” he wrote. Several residents in Palmetto Bay and nearby Kings Bay reported coyote sightings in October 2017.
In June 2017, Flinn posted on his blog an item from resident Suzanne Dundee Bonner. She reported coyote sightings at Deering Estate and adjacent to Bill Sadowski Park. At one of these sightings, the coyote was seen going after a cat in a neighbor’s backyard, she wrote.
On the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission webpage, the group says that coyotes are found throughout Florida and have been documented in all of the state’s 67 counties. “They are typically shy and elusive but encounters between people and coyotes in Florida are occurring more often. Coyotes help maintain balanced ecosystems by controlling the populations of rodents and small predators, such as foxes, opossums and raccoons. They are native to North America, have been in Florida for many years, and will continue to make their homes around the state.”
The wildlife group provides tips for living with coyotes. Among them:
▪ Make noise. Wave your arms in the air and yell as you move toward the coyote. That will usually get a coyote to retreat. Don’t throw things at the coyote. Hurting the animal will only cause it to defend itself. You just want to scare it off. Don’t run from a coyote or it may give chase.
▪ Teach children to recognize coyotes. If children are approached by a coyote, have them move slowly inside and yell — teach them not to run.
▪ Coyotes prey on domestic cats and small dogs, mostly at night or in the early evening or morning hours. Don’t let your pets roam freely and keep your cats indoors if possible. If pets are kept in a fenced yard, be sure the fence is high enough (about six feet) to prevent coyotes from jumping over. Check the bottom of the fence to ensure there are no spaces for coyotes to crawl underneath.
▪ Remove things such as pet food and unsecured garbage left outside. Don’t feed coyotes.