08-23-2019  2:59 am   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
(Flickr, Dru Bloomfeld)
Dr. Jasmine Streeter, DVM
Published: 25 October 2018

Last fall, while on a beautiful drive down Skyline, I spotted what appeared to be a lost dog standing in the road. As my fog lights adjusted to the dusky haze, I realized that the majestic creature before me was a coyote.

With a quick flash of my brights and a honk of the horn, the creature before me was gone. This article is dedicated to my newest canine neighbor, the urban coyote.

Coyotes, Canis latrans, play a vital role in our ecosystem and are native to North America. This extremely adaptable canine frequents many parts of the Pacific Northwest. Weighing  between 20 to 50 pounds, the coyote is about the size of a medium dog. Recently, advances in urban development have encroached on the coyotes’ natural habitat leading to more sightings by humans.

These changes have led to coyotes being spotted in suburbs, neighborhoods, parks and on public trails. Coyotes are usually not aggressive unless threatened, but can be territorial during their breeding season, which runs from late January to late March.

Though coyote attacks are rare, here are a few tips to protect you and your pet this season.

  • Never feed coyotes or encourage contact. Coyotes are primarily opportunistic feeders that will eat from outdoor pet food dishes, trash or spoiled fallen fruit. Make sure trash and compost bins are well sealed and double bag odoriferous foods like spoiled meat and fish.
  • Do not leave dogs, cats, and other animals that may be perceived as prey, unattended or tied outside. Keep close watch of backyard poultry and other farm animals if coyotes have been spotted in your area.
  • If you encounter a coyote while on a walk with your dog, do not allow pets to chase after the animal. Do not turn and run: coyotes have been clocked running faster than 40 miles per hour. Do make yourself appear large and throw whatever you have available.
  • To decrease coyote encounters, walk in well-trafficked areas, and avoid going out during the coyotes most active hours of dawn and dusk.

This fall I hope you bundle up, get outside, and enjoy the beauty that the Pacific Northwest has to offer. I definitely will be. With the tips provided, you and your fur babies can stay safe, active and create more seasonal memories. So get out there and live. Happy Fall!

To learn more about the urban coyote in your area, visit www.audobonportland.org.

You can ask Dr. Jasmine your pet question or email your pet photo to [email protected]

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