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Connecticut’s friendly coyotes

Posted on Jan 10, 2014

Connecticut is a strange and unique region that often seems to me to be an open zoo along the coast and through the center of the state. These are the major population centers where natural habitat and resources have been severely reduced or strained. The tireless efforts of federal, state and local agencies, organizations and conservationists help to preserve and protect what is left. However, there is only so much that can be done with so little open space left in some areas.

Coyote CT

The focused-on-the-window cropped coyote shot is rather artsy, isn’t it? It does provide a useful silhouette as they really do look like German Shepherds from afar

Packs of coyotes can be heard howling away nearly every night in this time of the year in my area of Connecticut. In the course of a week in December I had two casual coyote sightings in my Connecticut yard without any effort put to doing so. The first was of a healthy moderately-sized adult that came out of one woodland patch while heading to another at around 3 in the afternoon. It moved at a slow trotting pace, trying to stay somewhat obscured in the brush between yards. I thought to myself that hey, it’s a little early in the day for them to be wandering around…but it was December.

The second sighting was due to my cat spotting one out the front window near sunset, a much better time of day for the often crepuscular species to be out. Once I saw his reaction I knew he was on to something and sure enough, there it was…and there was another. These two were also moderately-sized and healthy in appearance but a little too casual, hanging out in our neighbor’s front yard, standing around. They slowly wandered across the street and into our driveway walking around the house. My camera was not set at all, especially for this very dark picture, after being unable to focus through the window at first.

Coyotes CT

This doesn’t look very natural, does it? Especially for two coyotes lazily wandering around. They came a lot closer a couple minutes later.

Once they came over to our yard I tossed aside the camera as I went to the porch to howl them away myself. It’s good to (safely) encourage coyotes to keep moving when they’re being so lackadaisical like this. My dog had no clue what I was doing once I hooted and hollered at them but both pets were pleased I was scaring away these predators. The lines between wildlife and suburban life are too blurred in much of Connecticut and similar neighborhoods across much of developed America. Coyote attacks on healthy pets, children or people in the daylight hours are rare (let’s not talk about cats though – I’ve seen leftover parts of cats that match ‘missing’ signs – keep them indoors at all times!!!), but would you feel comfortable leaving a small child or animal alone outside if this was everyday life? No, and you shouldn’t. I love nature and wildlife, especially when you can enjoy it from home, but this sort of thing is a bit much.

We sustain fragmented and modified forests that are not managed, wholly unnatural and lack wolves as top of the line predators. We provide additional sustenance for mammals, from bird seed (yes, I have seen a coyote come to eat mixed bird seed in the open in broad daylight) to trash bags and compost piles, to help keep sick, weak, old and dumb animals alive that would have otherwise perished while allowing them to feel all the more at home. Certain species are favored over others and their populations spiral out of control and literally spill into our homes. Something has to change in these types of areas before the lines are totally indistinguishable. Please remember to contact your state environmental or conservation department if you ever see a coyote or other wild animal acting in an aggressive manner. Right now that is the only flimsy band aid we have for our troubling lack of environmental planning and management.


Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator

Photos © Scott Kruitbosch