Coyotes are mammals that belong to the Canidae family. On average, their length is anywhere from 32 to 37 inches from their head to the rump. The tail adds up to 16 inches in length to their body. Meanwhile, their weight will usually range from 20 to 50 pounds. Their fur can be gray, tan, brown, or white, the color of which will depend on the place where they survive. Those in the deserts tend to be lighter while those in the mountains are darker. They have a lean body and long snout. They make a distinctive sound, which is one of the most obvious ways to detect their presence in the surrounding.
There are many places where coyotes can live, although most of them are in the wild, such as mountains, deserts, and forests. However, because more humans are occupying the countryside and the habitats of coyotes are suffering from destruction, they are also adapting. It is now common for coyotes to coexist with humans, and hence, you will find them even in the garden. They are nocturnal, which is why you can hear their distinctive sound only at night. While they are active throughout the year, they are more social in the winter months. When it is cold, it is not unusual to find them in groups.
Identifying Coyote’s Damage
The diet of coyotes is mostly carnivorous. They feed on insects, birds, and mammals. They can even feed on large animals like deer. However, it is important to note that they are not picky when it comes to food. With this, they will not only feed on animals, but even on plants, whether in the wild or in your garden. To be specific, they like pears, berries, lychee, avocado, guava, passion fruit, date palm, and melons.
Watch out for the following signs, which will be indicative of the presence of coyotes in the garden:
- One of the most common is for plants to have missing fruits because coyotes will eat them. They can also cause cosmetic damages on the different parts of the plant, such as the stems and the leaves. Young plants will be unable to grow.
- Most of the signs and symptoms are not evident on the plant itself, but on the surroundings. Look for coyote tracks in the garden. They are oval, compact, and have no prominent nail marks. They are also in a straight line.
- Scats or coyote droppings will also be present. It may contain different animal parts, depending on what the coyote ate. They are usually gray or black. The color becomes lighter the longer it is exposed to the sun.
Results of Infestation
In the worst of situations, coyotes will affect the entire fruit or vegetable. While most of them will feed only on the fruits, they can cause damages that will inhibit the flow of nutrients to the other parts of the plant. In large agricultural lands, this can lead to total damage to the crops, making them unmarketable, and hence, in the end, growers will suffer from economic loss.
How to Get Rid of Coyotes
Natural and Organic Solutions
For safe and effective ways to prevent and control coyotes, the following are some of the solutions that can prove to be promising:
- One of the best ways to get rid of coyotes is through habitat modification. It is all about making the garden or the yard unattractive for coyotes. Clearing thick vegetation and dense weed will help. Take out possible food sources so that they will not be able to seek refuge in the garden. It will also help to get rid of water sources and plants that they like.
- When it comes to exclusion techniques, one thing that can prove to be helpful is fencing, which will work as a preventive measure. To be effective, the fence must be tall and strong so that it will not be easy for coyotes to knock them down. An electric fence will also work.
- For some people, especially for hunters, they resort to gunning as a way to get rid of coyotes. It will kill them, but this is lethal and inhumane. This is best only if you are a shooter and if you are sure that you will have a good aim of your target. For most people, a 12-gauge semi-automatic shotgun is their weapon of choice.
- Trapping is another solution that is promising for eliminating coyotes in the garden. One of the most popular is jaw leg hold trap. When an animal steps on a trap, there is a trigger that is activated. Using bait will make it more effective in trapping the animal, the next thing to do is to kill it. You can leave the animal in its position and after several days, it will die due to dehydration.
- There are also scare devices that you can purchase and install within the perimeters of the garden. Flashing lights and sounds will be effective in keeping coyotes away. The use of scarecrows is also a promising solution.
There are chemicals and poisons for the treatment of coyotes, but a lot of homeowners and gardeners stay away from such because they can be toxic even for humans. Among others, one of the most popular is Compound 1080, which contains sodium monofluoroacetate as the main ingredient. It is tasteless and odorless, but poisonous. Sodium cyanide is also a common choice for coyote poison. It releases a toxic chemical that interferes with the functioning of the body, and hence, killing coyotes.