CLEWISTON – Many areas of Hendry County consist of rural territory, thanks to the cane fields, citrus groves, and other wooded or grassy pastures. Unfortunately, in these rural areas there are often safety hazards posed by wildlife encounters. This time of year, the safety concern, is for our pets as coyotes begin to prowl, looking for a mate.
Clewiston Animal Control (CAC) recently urged the community and pet owners to stay alert as coyote mating season is here. During this time, rural neighborhoods will encounter more coyotes than usual.
The dangers of more active and aggressive coyotes coming into neighborhoods is not easily forgotten by Janie Stills, of Clewiston.
“Last year, around this same time, we could hear them behind the house. We didn’t think much of it, until two of our kitties went missing,” Stills said. “We put up one of those game cams, and eventually caught them on camera – coyotes. They had stalked and killed our cats.”
According to CAC, “The scientific name of the coyote, Canis latrans, literally means “barking dog.” Coyotes make a variety of vocalizations from barking to shrill yips and howls. They are active day or night, but usually most active at sunset and sunrise.” They went on to explain, “Coyotes eat a variety of plants and animals including fruits, insects, rats and mice, rabbits, birds, deer, livestock, pet food left outdoors and people’s trash. They usually hunt alone, sometimes as a pair, but rarely as a group. With such a large range of appetite it is not unusual for coyotes to attack, kill and eat smaller pets.”