Coyotes in Myers Park
by Melissa Knicely, CMPD Animal Care & Control Department
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Animal Care & Control would like to address recent concerns regarding coyote sightings in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area. While we are not the responding agency in the management of wildlife; we do understand the concern and wish to offer safety tips, educational information and guidance to direct the citizens of Mecklenburg County to the correct resources that handle wildlife management.
Coyotes fall under the jurisdiction of North Carolina Wildlife Commission. If you have questions concerning coyotes please contact North Carolina Wildlife Commission at 919-707-0030 or 919-707-0050. North Carolina Wildlife Commission has a biologist assigned to Mecklenburg County. North Carolina Wildlife will contact the biologist if there is a reason for concern. They will not respond to a coyote sighting, as they are indigenous to this area and it is not uncommon to see them.
A coyote is about the size of a medium sized dog. They average in size from 20 to 40 pounds.They may resemble a German Shepherd or Collie. A coyote will have pointed ears, slender muzzle, and a dropping bushy tail that is black tipped. Their colors are usually a gray brown with red behind the ears and on the face. Their color may vary from a gray to black. The coyote’s eyes will be a vivid yellow with large pupils unlike dog eyes which are mainly brown.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg and surrounding towns are continuing to grow at a rapid pace. Due to this growth and development we are continuously encroaching on wild animal habitats. With the increase in population and new developments being erected, it is not uncommon for people to see coyotes in an urban area. The coyote has been in Mecklenburg County for the last 20 years. North Carolina is actually one of the last states in the southeast to be populated by them.
Coyotes in urban areas normally run in a family unit consisting of a female, a male, and their pups. A female may have between 4 to 7 pups in each litter and can reproduce 2 times a year. However, most coyotes will die with in the first three years of life in urban areas. Coyote sightings usually spike during the Fall because the pups have matured and they are moving out to form their own pack.
The urban coyote’s diet mainly consists of small rodents, deer, and fruits. Coyotes are not predators that will attack humans, in most cases they are easily frightened, afraid of humans and will run away if they see a human. Coyotes have been known to attack small dogs or cats, so if you have seen a coyote in your area, protect your pets by keeping them indoors and monitoring them when they are outside.
Tips to keep you and your pets safe!
Keep your pet restrained while outside.
A fenced yard is the best safeguard against wild animals coming into your yard.
Monitor your pet while it’s outside.
Keep cats inside if possible.
Do not feed your pet outside.
If you must feed your animal outside, remove any food that is left after your animal is finished eating.
Bird feeders often attract small animals such as squirrels and small rodents. Larger animals will then prey on the squirrels and rodents, thus attracting them to a bird feeder.
At night, bright white floodlights will deter coyotes from your property.
Make sure that your trash is secure. If possible keep trash in a can with a very secure lid.