Here's a nice article reminding us that we aren't outside of nature, we are in nature, and sometimes nature decides to get into what we consider our world:
A coyote ambling into a Chicago sandwich shop or taking up residence in New York's Central Park understandably creates a stir. But even here on the high plains of Colorado, where the animals are part of the landscape and figure prominently in Western lore, people are being taken aback by rising coyote encounters.
Thanks to suburban sprawl and a growth in numbers of both people and animals, a rash of coyote encounters has alarmed residents.
Wildlife officials are working to educate the public: Coyotes have always been here, they've adapted to urban landscapes and they prefer to avoid humans.
"Even though they live in urban areas and figure out how people work ... it doesn't mean they're necessarily becoming more aggressive toward us," Gehrt said.
They also haven't changed their diet. Gehrt expected to find urban coyotes eating a lot of garbage and pets. But their scat shows rodents are still the meal of choice, followed by deer, rabbits and birds.
Coyotes view pets such as cats and dogs as competitors, not food, Gehrt said. Most coyotes are submissive toward dogs, though some will stand their ground — especially during breeding season, when they may see dogs as rivals for mates. Mating season peaked in February, when some of the Denver-area incidents occurred.
I've personally had experiences with the effects of coyotes living on a nearby golf course. The city had them caught or killed due to some disappearing pets and the usual alarmist "they're gonna eat our kids" rhetoric. Subsequently, we were overrun by rabbits, who apparently bred like crazy in the absence of their primary predators, and proceeded to completely destroy all the neighborhood gardens. It didn't take long however for that (now) prime predator real estate to attract new tenants, and soon we had a healthy group of coyotes living on the golf course and eating rabbits. Apparently we weren't the only people to experience the futility of getting rid of coyotes.
Reducing the number of coyotes doesn't work, Rosmarino said, because the animals breed more and have bigger litters when their population declines. The U.S. Agriculture Department's Wildlife Services killed more than 90,000 in 2007 to stem livestock attacks.