The canis latrans, also known as the ky-OH-tee, Koh-yoh-tay, or as the cowboy would say, ky-OAT; has been spotted in all areas of Tulsa.
Coyotes migrated to the Tulsa area beginning in the early twentieth century, when forest fragmentation and the extermination of larger predators like red and gray wolves lead to their spread eastward.
Many strategies have been tried to rid urban areas of coyotes, but the effort is often costly and ineffective. Coyotes are notoriously hard to catch and don’t survive relocation. Any area cleared of coyotes will quickly be repopulated.
Coyotes do provide an essential role in the ecosystem by helping to control the rodent population. They are predators of geese, squirrels, mice, voles, gophers, opossums, and other small animals. While rodents make up a majority of their diet, they also feed on fish, insects, blueberries, apples, prickly pears, persimmons, peanuts and carrots.
Although their diet includes a variety of foods, coyotes have been known to kill small pets. The best way to protect pets is to avoid attracting coyotes near your home by following these four best practices:
Best Practice #1: Supervise Pets
While coyotes don’t usually attack humans, your pets can be a target.
Coyotes may see large dogs as rivals and small dogs and cats as prey.
Always walk your dog on a leash.
Keep cats indoors. Letting cats roam free is also a violation of City of Tulsa Ordinances.
And the best way to protect your pets, is not to leave them outside unattended, especially at dusk through dawn when coyotes are more active. In some cases, coyotes can climb fences.
Best Practice #2: Remove Food Attractants
Remove bowls of pet food.
Keep trash cans securely closed.
Pick up any fruit or nuts from your yard.
Best Practice #3: Remove Possible Shelters
Eliminate places for a coyote to make a den, like access under a deck or large bushes.
Cut down any tall grass or brush that could provide shelter for coyotes.
Best Practice #4: Respond Appropriately During Any Encounters
If you do encounter a coyote, stand your ground.
Don’t turn your back or run away. The coyote can reach speeds of 40 mph. Top speed of a human is 28 mph.
Stay away from injured, cornered or nursing coyotes. Slowly back away.
Most importantly, use “hazing” techniques to discourage coyotes you come across.
Act large, yell, clap your hands, use a noisemaker, throw sticks at the coyote’s feet, hit pans, etc.
Hazing helps keep wild animals wild, as coyotes can become a nuisance or aggressive when they lose their fear of people.
If you see a coyote that seems aggressive or if you have more questions, call a Tulsa County Game Warden with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation:
Contact Carlos Gomez in Jenks at 918-857-5557 Or Brandon Fulton in Collinsville at 918-640-0316
They can connect you with a licensed Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator. Do not contact the Tulsa Animal Shelter as it does not handle wildlife issues.
By following best practices, you can help limit negative interactions between people, pets and the urban wildlife we live alongside.