A Sanibel resident reported an aggressive coyote encounter to the Sanibel Police non-emergency line. According to the report, the resident was walking with a 50-pound dog at 6:30 a.m. Friday, July 19, on Anchor Drive. The resident and dog were approached and encircled by two coyotes. When efforts to scare or cause the coyotes to flee were unsuccessful, the resident and dog were able to safely seek refuge at a nearby residence until the coyotes left the area.
All citizens are reminded to follow FWC’s “Living with Coyotes” guidelines and to report all sightings and encounters immediately to the Sanibel Police Department non-emergency line at 239-472-3111.
Please include the following information in your report:
Your name and contact information
Day & time of sighting
Approximate location of sighting
Coyote activity (howling, feeding, running away etc.)
Description, how many, or any other notable information
Coyotes are not generally a threat to human safety, but can and do prey on domestic cats and small dogs.
Anyone who encounters a coyote should:
Immediately act aggressively toward the coyote. Wave your arms, throw things like stones, and shout at the coyote.
Make yourself appear larger by standing up or stepping onto a rock, stump, or stair. Convince the coyote you are a potential danger to be avoided.
Where coyote encounters occur regularly, walk pets at other times besides nighttime hours, dusk and dawn.
Carry something that will make noise or scare the animal, such as a small air horn, solid walking stick, or golf club. These things may deter
the coyote at close range.
Make a “coyote shaker” by putting a few washers, pebbles or pennies into an empty soft drink can. Wrap the can in foil and tape closed.
Continue to make sufficient noise until the coyote leaves; otherwise the coyote will learn to wait to leave until the activity stops.
Other ways to protect yourself and your pets:
Do not allow pets to roam freely.
Most coyote attacks on pets occur either at night or at dusk or dawn. During these times especially, avoid walking your pet in heavily
wooded or vegetated areas where coyotes could hide.
Keep your dog close, on a short leash.
Keep cats indoors.
Coyotes may be attracted by food and garbage.
Although most of us wouldn’t think of feeding a coyote directly, indirect feeding can be just as troublesome. Don’t place food outdoors
that will attract wild animals. This includes pet food, bird seed, and even water.
Store your trash in a secure area until the morning of pickup or use animal-proof containers.
The coyote, once strictly found in the western United States, expanded its range into Florida in the late 1970’s and was first documented on Sanibel in 2011. Coyotes are omnivorous with the majority of their diet in Florida being small mammals such as mice, rats and rabbits. However, they are opportunistic and have been known to eat everything from garbage to fruit and vegetables, dead fish and wildlife, birds, livestock, small pets and even sea turtle eggs. They are most active near dawn and dusk and are normally extremely shy and stay clear of humans.
In 2014, in response to increasing coyote sightings and harmful impacts to sea turtle hatchlings and other native wildlife, the Sanibel Coyote Working Group was established. This partnership between the City of Sanibel, SCCF, USFWS at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, and CROW, was formed to establish a plan for coordinated monitoring and management of coyotes on Sanibel. In 2015, at the recommendation of the Working Group, City Council approved funding to conduct coyote scat surveys and DNA analysis to determine a population estimate and relatedness of coyotes on Sanibel (work completed by an expert research team at the University of Georgia: Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources). The findings of this study and the accompanying recommendations of the Working Group were presented to City Council on May 2, 2017. To view the City Council agenda and attachments (Item 10.d), click here.
For more information regarding coyote biology and behavior, visit FWC’s webpage “Living with Coyotes” or contact the City of Sanibel Natural Resources Department at (239) 472-3700.