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Coyotes: They are here to stay in Pinellas County | Environment

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Coyotes: They are here to stay in Pinellas County
Environment, News
Coyotes: They are here to stay in Pinellas County

Pinellas County, Florida -- Coyotes can be found in Pinellas County. Here are some things to know on how to stay safe and stay smart against Coyotes:

  • Coyotes are highly adaptable animals that came to Florida in the 1970s and will continue to make their homes in suitable habitats in the county.
  • Scientific Name – Canis latrans which means "barking dog"
  • Full-grown coyotes typically weigh between 24 – 37 pounds.
  • Coat colors range from gray to rusty brown.
  • Their bushy tails are usually black-tipped.
  • Omnivores, coyotes eat just about anything. Wild fruits, insects, birds and other small mammals are some of their favorite foods, but some coyotes may prey on cats, small dogs and livestock. Garbage and pet food left outside may also attract coyotes.
  • There have been very few reported cases of western coyotes biting people. Their innate fear of humans tends to keep them from coming into close contact with people.
  • In urban areas, coyotes can lose their fear of humans as a result of coming to rely on ample food sources, including household refuse, pet food and even intentional feeding of coyotes by residents.
  • Coyote attacks on people, while extremely rare, have occurred in other parts of the country and can be expected to occur in densely populated Pinellas County. As public officials, we would be considered negligent in our duties if this hadn't been pointed out in our educational pieces. Previous serious instances where owners were present with large dogs when coyotes attacked were wakeup calls. If offending coyotes can be targeted, then removal may be indicated; while in the past there was a wildlife officer to which this removal would be assigned, Animal Services has since eliminated the wildlife officer position.
  • The long-term solution requires public education, changes in residents’ behavior and in some situations, the means to remove individual offending animals.

View map of Coyote sightings in Pinellas County. 

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