Recently there have been recent coyote attacks on an adult and on a dog in Bergen County. Coyotes can survive on whatever food is available. They prey on rabbits, mice, birds and other small animals, as well as young and weakened deer. They will also take advantage of garbage, pet food and domestic animals that are left unattended.
In suburban and urban areas, coyotes have occasionally attacked small pets. Although attacks on humans are extremely rare, as with any predatory animal they can occur. They are by nature wary of humans. However, coyote behavior changes if given access to human food and garbage. They lose caution and fear. Visit NJDEP Fish & Wildlife website for more information at https://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/coyote_info.htm
The following guidelines can help reduce the likelihood of conflicts with coyotes:
- Never feed a coyote. Deliberately feeding coyotes puts pets and other residents in the neighborhood at risk.
- Feeding pet cats and/or feral (wild) cats outdoors can attract coyotes. The coyotes feed on the pet food and also prey upon the cats.
- Put garbage in tightly closed containers that cannot be tipped over.
- Remove sources of water, especially in dry climates.
- Bring pets in at night.
- Put away bird feeders at night to avoid attracting rodents and coyote prey.
- Provide secure enclosures for rabbits, poultry, and other farm animals.
- Pick up fallen fruit and cover compost piles.
- Although extremely rare, coyotes have been known to attack humans. Parents should monitor their children, even in familiar surroundings, such as backyards.
- Install motion-sensitive lighting around the house.
- Clear brush and dense weeds from around dwellings – this reduces protective cover for coyotes and makes the area less attractive to rodents and rabbits. Coyotes, as well as other predators, are attracted to areas where rodents are concentrated like woodpiles.