By Ofc. Pete Matejcik, Bloomfield Township Police Dept.
One of the truly beautiful aspects of Bloomfield Township is the country feel we have all worked so hard to preserve. Instead of the concrete, steel, noise and congestion of urban development, Bloomfield Township has worked at being ‘green’ long before it became the latest fad. Township residents have an appreciation for nature and wildlife, and that’s why we have one of the most beautiful communities in southeast Michigan.
Much of this wildlife goes unnoticed, even though it is quite active in broad daylight. Red-tailed Hawks, groundhogs, and even deer can be seen all hours of the day. Some of this wildlife, like coyotes, exist in the twilight of our day-to-day activities and may never be seen - but they’re still here.
Coyotes, (Canis Latrans), are about as big as a medium-sized German shepherd, and usually yellowish-gray in color. The tail of a coyote is bushy, black tipped, and carried on a level plane with its back. The snout of a coyote is elongated and pointed, as are its ears. While more active during hours of darkness, coyotes can often be seen in the day between mid January and March as this is their breeding season.
Coyotes are an opportunistic hunter, usually feeding at night on small mammals such as mice, voles, shrews, rabbits, and squirrels. However, they have also been known to eat garbage, garden vegetables, pet food, and even unattended small dogs and cats. In spite of this, coyotes are not considered a threat to humans. In fact, public health authorities state people have a much better chance of being bitten by rodents, snakes, and domestic dogs than they do by coyotes.
Some would argue that the coyotes in Bloomfield Township could be trapped and relocated. This ‘solution’ ignores two important facts. Firstly, once coyotes have been removed from our community, coyotes from adjacent areas would doubtless fill the void. Secondly, with the coyotes removed from Bloomfield Township, the population of nuisance wildlife would burgeon as an important predator has vanished from the scene. However one feels about the coyote, this reclusive animal plays an important part in the ecological balance of our community.
To continue our peaceful coexistence with the coyote, Bloomfield Township recommends the following:
- Never intentionally feed coyotes or leave food out for them; this makes them less afraid of humans and, potentially, more aggressive as they’ll begin to associate the presence of humans with food.
- Never approach, touch, or attempt to touch a coyote.
- Put garbage out on the morning it is to be collected, and never the night before.
- Clear away wood and brush piles from your yard. These attract the small rodents that are the staple diet of coyotes.
- NEVER ALLOW PETS TO ROAM FREE. Accompany smaller pets outside when they need to relieve themselves. Aside from the coyote, even the Red-tailed Hawk is a threat to small pets. Lastly, pet owners may be in violation of Township ordinance for allowing pets to stray.
The existence of the coyote in our community does not demand they be hunted or removed. Instead, the coyote is worthy of our understanding and respect.
Remember, the coyote is not living in our community – we are living in his. Increased human population and development in any area will certainly increase the chances of contact with the coyote as we impinge upon its habitat. Understanding the coyote will reduce the probability of contact turning into confrontation.
(Source of information: Michigan Department of Natural Resources)