Monday, April 17, 2017

Chasing Coyotes

Chasing Coyotes: Accounts of Urban Crises by Debora Martin
Atlas: 12/12/16
eBook: 192 pages
paperback ISBN-13: 9781945033247

Chasing Coyotes: Accounts of Urban Crises by Debora Martin is a highly recommended informative guide on the presence and problems of coyotes in the urban landscape of Orange County, CA, but it can pertain to coyote populations in other urban areas. The main purpose of the book is informational and educational, along with being easily accessible to lay people.

In Chasing Coyotes Martin discusses the history of coyotes in cities, coyote habitats, and points out ways to coyote "proof" an area. She also shares stories of coyote attacks on pets and people, especially children.  The stated purpose of Chasing Coyotes is fourfold: "(1) to document the plight of urban coyotes in North America, (2) to reduce the amount of misinformation presently circulating about urban coyotes, (3) to remove or reduce any fear the reader may have of coyotes, and (4) to encourage readers to haze coyotes every time they see them." Currently there is misinformation and untruths being spread about urban coyotes by animal rights groups, such as the belief that urban coyotes control rats. It has been shown that urban coyotes only control mice and vole rodent populations, not rodent populations such as rats.

Included are ways to discourage coyotes from making your neighborhood part of their hunting grounds, including "ammonia and white vinegar to reduce pet odor, picking up pet compost, and keeping pet food and water dishes inside." You can also "make sure that all fruit is picked up, secure your trash can lid so coyotes cannot knock them over and get to their contents, remove bird feeders, install motion-activated lighting and sprinkler systems, and increase the amount of outdoor lighting.... Low-lying bushes should be removed, and bushes and trees should be cut back, in order to reduce the number of potential coyote hiding places. Your objective is to create a hostile environment for the coyote by making your home and neighborhood coyote-unfriendly."

Martin discusses pets she has personally lost to coyotes in her neighborhood. She makes it clear that you should never show fear to, turn your back on, or run from a coyote because they might view you as prey. You should never feed a coyote or take pictures of it. This encourages them to not fear humans, creating a potential dangerous situation. If possible haze any coyote you see. Martin explains how to haze a coyote: Raise your arms and wave them while approaching the coyote - be loud and large! Use noisemakers (your voice, whistles, air horns, bells, and soda cans filled with pennies or dead batteries. (Be sure to familiarize your dog to this noise.) Use projectiles (e.g., sticks, small rocks, cans, tennis balls, rubber balls). Try other repellents (such as hoses, water guns with vinegar water, spray bottles with vinegar water, pepper spray, bear repellent, and walking sticks). Sometimes coyotes will test you by pausing in their tracks and standing their ground, but continue hazing and chasing them until they leave the area and are out of sight.

Included in the book are a list of Coyote Preparedness References. There are several urban areas that record and track coyote sightings in their areas and compile a database of information. Be sure to see if your city has a website with coyote information and a place to report sightings of coyotes. If you have ever lived in a city or urban area where there are populations of coyotes preying on pets you will appreciate this book and the information it contains. While some of the text is repetitive when discussing actions to take, in this case it might help the casual reader remember what to do when a coyote is sighted.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of the publisher/author.

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