I’ve sure been getting a lot of folks asking what can be done about the growing coyote population. Then, too, I have a lot of folks who seem to be confused about what a coyote really is. There are even some voicing opinions in favor of coyotes, stating silly things like, “They were here first” or “They don’t hurt anybody.”
Well, they do. Coyotes have been known to attack humans. Distemper and canine hepatitis are among the most common diseases coyotes carry and pass on to domestic animals. They are also well-documented carriers of rabies and tularemia, which may be transmitted to humans and other animals. And don’t forget that they also carry parasites, including mites, ticks, fleas, worms and flukes.
Now, to be sure, coyotes and dogs belong to the same dog family, but they are really different animals. Coyotes appear slimmer than dogs, with a sharp muzzle, flat forehead, and bushy tail. They look like they have longer legs but that is just an effect of where their elbow joint is positioned in relation to the chest.
That is probably one of the easiest and sure-fire ways to identify a coyote. Because you know somebody will always say, “Are you sure it was a coyote and not just some stray dog?”
Try to get a good look at the front legs and see where the elbow joint lays. A dog’s elbow is higher than the bottom line of its chest, but a coyote has a very leggy look that comes from a shallow chest that leaves the elbow joint appearing lower. The only dog that has that leggy look is a greyhound, which could rarely ever be mistaken for a coyote.
And for the “They were here first” crowd, no, they were not. Coyotes are not native to Florida and are amongst the hundreds of invasive species taking over our state. They must be controlled by hunting or trapping and if you would like to learn how, shoot me an email. I’d love to teach you! If you have any questions or comments about this week’s article, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected]. God Bless and good hunting!