Wildlife officials: Coyotes on the rise in the North Cape
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
CREATED Jan. 20, 2013
CAPE CORAL, Fla. - Coyotes in the Cape!
According to wildlife officials, the animals are making a comeback, especially in the North Cape.
Four In Your Corner's Colleen Hogan has more on what you need to know to protect your pets and your family.
If you live in the North Cape, you've probably heard them making noise in the night the past couple of weeks. While it can be cool to hear them, make no mistake, they've been blamed for killing several family pets over the last year here in Southwest Florida.
"It just sounded like dogs fighting out there," North Cape Coral homeowner Jamie Ayres said of the noises.
Over the past couple weeks, the Ayres family has heard some strange noises coming from the woods near their house.
"It sounded like cats and dogs fighting together, except a lot louder," Ashley Ayres said.
"It went on for quite awhile," Jamie said.
The sounds? Likely coyotes.
The family recalls a close encounter with one a few years back.
"We were out here and we thought it was a dog," Kaylee Ayres said. "We were like, mom it's a dog, can we go up and pet it? And she's like, that's a coyote!"
"It was stalking us," Jamie said. "It was watching us and I felt a little bit nervous."
They've seen a couple smaller coyotes since, but in the past couple weeks, the coyotes are once again making themselves heard.
Florida Fish and Wildlife (FWC) officials say their population is on the rise.
According to FWC's website, coyotes can bark like dogs, making shrill yips and howls. It says coyotes will also kill dogs and cats, though they tend to be timid toward people.
A spokesperson for the Cape Coral Police Department says the animals are very common in the North Cape, responding to a reporter's Facebook post:
"They tend to stay in the wooded areas, however we have seen them occasionally on the west end of Pine Island Rd., near Chiquita Boulevard," wrote Sgt. Coston. "They CAN be dangerous to small pets that are left outside and they certainly shouldn't be approached if you see one."
The Ayres girls, also offer some advice.
"Keep your dogs on leashes," Ashley Ayres said.
"Be careful when you're driving not to run them over," Kaylee Ayres said.
You can legally shoot a nuisance coyote on your property. FWC recommends keeping the food sources, like trash and even birdseed out of reach, and keep your pets inside.
Colleen Hogan, reporter