West Seattle wildlife: Here’s how to handle coyote sightings

From AJ, who followed experts’ advice:

Coyote sighting (Tuesday) morning at 9:08 am in our backyard at 9800 block of Marine View Drive. Very close to the house. This is our third sighting of what we think is the same coyote. First time in the morning, usually we see him in the evening. Based on info we’ve read on the blog we scared him off by banging on the window. Very beautiful creature; should have taken a picture before we scared him off.

That advice, and more, is in the state Fish and Wildlife Department’s “Coexisting with Coyotes” info.

10 Replies to "West Seattle wildlife: Here's how to handle coyote sightings"

  • JC August 17, 2011 (7:45 pm)

    I also saw a coyote while out on a walk on Tuesday morning, around 6:45. It was running down California up by 98th SW. It scared the daylights out of me, especially as I was out with my baby. I had never seen one before and it was good cause to learn more about them and what to do if I run into one again. Thanks for posting the link!

  • boy August 18, 2011 (11:15 am)

    If you see one in your yard you have the right to shoot it. I don’t want one of these things eatting my cats.

  • JoAnne August 18, 2011 (11:47 am)

    Lots of times when people see a coyote they are so stunned, fascinated, frightened, etc., that it is hard to react in time.

    It helps to have a (legal) weapon handy, like a few rocks or a stick.

    Using a gun could be complicated. It is illegal to discharge firearms within the city limits.

    Whether you get in trouble would probably depend on whether anyone calls the police and whether the police interpret the shooting as self-defense or not.

  • One More Opinion August 18, 2011 (12:36 pm)

    Keep your cat inside and it shouldn’t be a problem. Just sayin’.

  • cherylc August 18, 2011 (1:17 pm)

    Our cat got out last night be mistake and I was hysterical. I had surgery recently, so I was staggering the streets in my nightgown calling her. I decided I might get arrested, and, luckily, she did come home later. Time to fix the screen doors.

  • Near Alki August 18, 2011 (2:28 pm)

    Not really sure what the coyotes will do for breakfast after all the easy prey, domestic cats (who by the way don’t EVEN know they are being hunted) have been depleted?? It’s no coincidence the coyote population in West Seattle is increasing and the domestic cat population is decreasing. I’ve heard reports that cats are greater than 60% of coyotes diet. Although rare, but getting less rare is the fact that coyotes do go after small people (IE children)…coyotes know the rules and minimize the possibility of injury while hunting for lunch. However, a VERY hungry coyote will take more risk and the more they see of passive people the less fear they have of them. And when they are looking at people they are NOT thinking how nice it would be to be your companion.

  • Ex-Westwood Resident August 18, 2011 (3:47 pm)

    If coyotes are approaching homes and are seen in populated areas they have lost their fear of man. We kill bears for this same reason. Why not coyotes?

  • datamuse August 18, 2011 (3:50 pm)

    60%? Really? The largest number I could find from a study where coyotes were actually observed chasing and devouring prey put the number at 42%, and that was in an urban environment (Tucson, AZ). They primarily go after mice, rats, rabbits, and smaller animals.
    In any case, there is a very, very easy way to keep them from killing your pet: keep it inside, especially at night when coyotes do most of their hunting. Trust me, the ones around here ain’t hungry.
    People definitely shouldn’t be passive or friendly when interacting with them, though. They will get more aggressive if they think they can–they’re very adaptable–and that will end by necessitating what some here have advocated, that they be killed.

  • JoAnne August 19, 2011 (8:46 am)

    My elderly mother brings her cats to the yard with her when she gardens. Both she and the cats really enjoy this. Well, her smallest cat was attacked and injured severely, costing nearly $3,000 in vet bills and a great deal of pain and suffering to the animal.

    Coyotes have been spotted in her neighborhood for several years now, and lately they have been spotted in groups of 2 to 7. They are also beginning to walk right past people in broad daylight.

  • JoAnne August 19, 2011 (8:55 am)

    Some people (like me) keep cats not just as companion animals but as working animals to keep away rats and mice away. They are much better for pest control than poison or traps.

    Even cats who are kept indoors all the time escape from time to time. My neighborhood is near heavy traffic and commercial areas, and I think this has helped to keep us relatively coyote-free until recently.

    Late this spring the cat disappearances and mutilations started in my area. Same as how it started a few years ago by my mother’s place. This to me is a clear indication of growing populations/expanding territory.

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