Coyotes in Ansley Park

Coyote walking near Winn Park

There has been a lot of talk about coyotes recently. Neighbors have reported seeing a coyote in Winn Park, on Montgomery Ferry, on Peachtree Circle, and near the Ansley Golf Club as well as other places in urban Atlanta.

There is a lot of information on the Internet about coyotes. We are fortunate in Atlanta in that we have a local expert resource in The Atlanta Coyote Project!

The Atlanta Coyote Project was developed by scientists from Berry College, Emory University, the University of Tennessee Chattanooga, and the North River Geographic Systems. The goals of the project are to provide the public with information about coyotes from the viewpoint of biology and natural history; to provide a centralized location where coyote sightings, activity, and incidents can be reported, maintained and mapped; and to conduct peer-review, scientific research on coyotes.

Their website (www.atlantacoyoteproject.org) is fully stocked with information about coyotes themselves, why lethal control and relocation programs don’t work; and information about co-habitation of humans and coyotes. The experts at the Atlanta Coyote Project want you to report your sighting to them, there is even a form!

Let’s hit the highlights (and thank you to the Atlanta Coyote Project for the content below):

  • Except for Hawaii, coyotes are now found in all states in the US and are well established in nearly everywhere, deserts, swamps, tundra and grasslands, brush, dense forests, cities and suburbs.
  • Coyotes are curious, smart and adaptable and our urban areas provide the perfect balance of food, shelter and water for them. Coyotes in urban areas not only provide free rodent control by feeding on mice and rats, but also help to regulate the population size of other species, like voles, white tailed deer, and Canadian geese, that may cause conflicts with people in urban areas.
  • Coyotes are omnivores, they generally hunt small mammals such as mice, rabbits, and voles but also eat fruit and berries and an occasional road kill. In urban areas, they are known to eat pet food, unsecured garbage and compost. They can prey on UNATTENDED domestic pets IF GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY!
  • Coyotes are wild animals that should be treated with caution and respect, but attacks on humans are almost unheard of. Your chances of being bitten by someone’s pet dog are many times greater than by a coyote.
  • Coyotes are naturally most active at dawn and dusk, but shift to more nocturnal activity in urban areas in an effort to avoid people.
  • One might assume that the best solution to the presence of coyotes in urban areas is to trap them or to relocate the coyotes to rural areas. This assumption is incorrect. If coyotes are present in an area, it means that they have found a good place to live, a place that meets their needs . The capture and removal of a coyote creates a vacancy that can be eventually filled by a coyote searching for a territory to call home. Additionally, removing coyotes in a territory creates the presence of more food for the remaining coyotes, their pups have a better chance of survival, and thus an environment is present for the growth of the coyote population. A vicious cycle is created.

How to manage co-habitation with coyotes:

To reduce food attractants in urban areas:

  • NEVER hand feed or deliberately feed a coyote;
  • Avoid feeding pets outdoors
  • If you have to feed your pet outdoors, remove sources of pet food and water immediately
  • NEVER compost any meat or dairy
  • Maintain good housekeeping, such as regularly raking area around bird feeders and remove fallen fruit from the ground
  • Keep trash in high-quality containers with tight fitting lids; bag especially attractive food waste such as meat scraps or leftover pet food.
  • Free-roaming pets, especially cats and sometimes small dogs, may attract coyotes – Don’t leave pets outside unattended. LEASH your small dogs! Attacks on larger dogs are rarer, coyotes may go after a large dog when they feel that their territory is threatened, generally during breeding season (January – March). LEASH your large dogs!
  • Fences can be coyote-proof – at least 8 feet tall and made of a material that coyotes cannot climb or at least 6 feet tall with a protective device on top such as a coyote roller (coyoteroller.com). To prevent digging under a fence, the fence should extend at least 12 inches or include an L-shaped mesh apron that extends outward at least 18 inches and is secured with landscape staples.

The Atlanta Coyote Program wants you to visit their website, www.atlantacoyoteproject.org.   The site is a great resource for all ages and concerns.


Ansley Park Civic Association - P.O. Box 77125, Atlanta, GA 30309

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