The following information was sent to Maple Grove residents via an email alert Friday, Feb. 3 to residents by Crime Prevention Officer Todd Strege.
According to Strege, most common areas in Maple Grove that police have received reports of coyotes have been been around Rice Lake Trails and the Boundary Creek/Elm Creek Park areas.
“This doesn’t mean that coyotes are limited to only these areas because there are plenty of wooded/natural areas throughout the city where a coyote could easily live,” he said.
The Feb. 3 email alert to Maple Grove residents from the Maple Grove Police Department was as follows:
Coyotes are an extremely adaptable wildlife species that survive well in an urban environment – including Maple Grove.
With all of our wonderful parks and unspoiled natural areas, we not only encounter coyotes, we invite them.
Coyotes are wild animals and perfectly capable of surviving on their own. Feeding coyotes puts yourself and the coyote at risk. A coyote that becomes dependent on humans for food may become too bold, bite someone and have to be destroyed.
Many people believe that coyotes are here because we have taken over their habitat. This is only partially true; we have actually enhanced it.
We support coyotes through our household habits. Our garbage is often accessible; we have compost bins, fruit trees, gardens, and bird feeders. We leave pet food outside and create rodent habitat in our yards.
About 70 percent of a coyote’s diet is small mammals and fowl (i.e. mice, rabbits, ducks, etc.) The remaining 30 percent is things like fruit, vegetables and fish. Like most carnivores, they will eat dead animals as readily as they will capture live ones.
Contrary to popular belief coyotes are not nocturnal and will be active any time of day or night. They mate in late winter and whelp in late April or early May. This will often lead to increased activity as they hunt to feed the new litter of pups. They typically hunt alone or in monogamous pairs. They are not pack animals.
Unfortunately, this is the time of year when people are most active. As a result of this increased activity, the chance of an encounter or sighting increases dramatically during this time.
A full grown adult coyote will weigh between 20 and 45 pounds, but may appear heavier due to a thick double coat. They have bushy tails which are held low while running, unlike wolves whose tail is typically held high when they run. Coyotes have a narrower muzzle with a white “bib” that covers the lower jaw and extends into the neck. They have large erect ears typically reddish yellow in color. The fur is typically dark grey or black on the upper body and a lighter cream color on their undersides.
Children of all ages should be taught to stay away from every wild animal. In the case of small children in particular, it is always wise to keep them under constant supervision. They should never be left alone in an area known to be coyote habitat. If the family is going to eat outside in the summer, an adult should always be present. Like dogs, coyote have an extremely sensitive sense of smell and are attracted by any food source.The only way to guarantee the safety of your cat is to make it an indoor cat.
If you own a small dog:
- Keep your dog on a short leash when outside.
- Avoid extension leashes when walking.
- Walk in areas of high pedestrian traffic.
- Keep your dog in front of you. If it stops, keep an eye on it.
- Dog walk with a friend or relative.
Even large dogs can fall victim to a coyote attack.
If you encounter a coyote:
- Make yourself appear larger by standing and waving your arms.
- Shout in a deep aggressive voice.
- Throw rocks and sticks at the coyote.
- DO NOT RUN or turn your back on the coyote.
- DO NOT feed wildlife (City Code Sec. 6-20 prohibits the feeding of wildlife)
- DO NOT leave small animals outside, unattended
There are also several internet websites that provide valuable information about living with coyotes in an urban setting. One recommended website is that of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources