Coyotes are found in all 88 of Ohio’s counties. Coyote sightings in Centerville and Washington Township are somewhat rare, but when someone sees one, you are likely to hear all about it! At first glance, you might think you are seeing a small German Shepard. The average coyote weighs 25 – 35 pounds — it is extremely rare to find one larger than 35 pounds.
You are much more likely to hear a coyote than you are to see one. Coyotes are very vocal animals. They can distort their voices and produce a variety of sounds, including yips, whines, barks and howls. This often makes a small group of coyotes sound like a much larger group.
Coyotes are primarily more active between dusk and dawn, so most of our schedules do not match up with that of a coyote — which is why you are rarely lucky enough to spot them. We are currently is the middle of coyote breeding season (December – March), so they are more visible and more vocal right now. In the spring, when coyotes give birth and begin to raise their young, chances of a sighting also increase. They are out more often during daylight hours this time of year gathering food for their pups. Their food source is most often small rodents and fruit.
Coyote presence in a park or in your neighborhood is not cause for alarm; yet, people who see coyotes are often afraid. Rest assured, coyotes are afraid of humans and will take great measures to avoid contact with us. But, if you encounter one, simply leave the area calmly (do not run) and make plenty of loud noise. To ensure your dog’s safety in the parks, you should always keep them leashed and on the trails. When you are there, the coyote will avoid your dog.
If a coyote is in your yard, you should let it know if it is not welcome. Make loud noises, like banging pots and pans together. You can invest in motion sensor lighting to deter coyotes from your property. This helps reinforce their fear of humans. If you live in an area where coyotes have been spotted, do not let your small pets out unsupervised. And of course, never attempt to touch, tame or feed any wild animal.
If you have additional questions about coyotes, review these helpful resources:
- Urban Coyote Research Project, a website from the leading coyote scientist in the Midwest
- Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife
On February 11, 2020, the Centerville-Washington Park District and the Washington-Centerville Public Library hosted the information session All About Coyotes from the Ohio Division of Wildlife. They have been kind enough to share the slides from their presentation for those that missed it.