Winter coyote sightings in urban areas, 'no cause for alarm,' say Indiana wildlife officials

INDIANAPOLIS (WLS) -- Seeing coyotes during the winter is normal and should not cause alarm, according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Coyotes become more active during the winter and they are common across the state of Indiana, even in urban areas like downtown Indianapolis, Fort Wayne and South Bend, the department said in a release.

"Where people are, coyotes follow," the release said. "Coyotes like to eat animals and plants that thrive around yards and homes. Their diet includes rabbits, mice, fruit, and squirrels. They thrive around people because of the abundant food that comes with human development."

Coyotes are an important and beneficial part of Indiana's wildlife community. They help control rodent populations and clean up carrion, officials said.

According to the DNR, problems between coyotes and people are uncommon but there are ways to prevent them.

Follow these quick tips for making your yard less attractive to coyotes:
  • Clean up fallen fruit from trees or gardens.

  • Keep garbage secure.

  • Make sure pet food and treats are not left outside.

  • Take down bird feeders if you see a coyote around your yard; they could be attracted to the rodents eating the seeds.

  • Never intentionally feed a coyote; it could lose its fear of people.

  • If you see a coyote, try to make it uncomfortable:

  • Yell.

  • Wave your arms.

  • Spray it with a hose.

  • Throw tennis balls or small stones, but don't throw anything that could be food, like apples.

  • Carry a jar of coins or a small air horn to make noise.
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