Twin Cities officials warn residents to keep eye out for coyotes
GEM LAKE, Minn.-Coyote sightings are up in several Twin Cities suburbs, prompting officials to warn residents to keep their pets safe. St. Louis Park, Bloomington and Gem Lake have each posted warnings in newsletters or their websites about the s...
GEM LAKE, Minn.-Coyote sightings are up in several Twin Cities suburbs, prompting officials to warn residents to keep their pets safe.
St. Louis Park, Bloomington and Gem Lake have each posted warnings in newsletters or their websites about the sightings. Gem Lake's said several small dogs in the Twin Cities metro have been killed by coyotes recently.
"We've had lots of coyote sightings ... lots of them screeching," said Gretchen Artig-Swomley, a city council member from Gem Lake. "They're sneaky little devils."
Although coyotes generally avoid people and domestic animals, they might raid garbage cans and have been known to kill small dogs and cats, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Reports of coyotes in Minnesota have increased over the past couple of decades, said Dan Stark, the large carnivore specialist for the DNR. The agency, though, has no quantifiable information about how much their population has increased.
The sightings do not appear to be limited to the suburbs either, with residents in St. Paul reporting on civic message boards about possible sightings. The city's website includes several links for homeowners looking for ways to deal with the animals.
Coyotes are unprotected in Minnesota, so the DNR does not have the authority to manage them, though local governments may have their own regulations.
Coyotes don't need a lot of room and are pretty adaptable, which is why they can be found in metropolitan areas, Stark said. Semi-wild areas such as parks provide refuge and shelter for them, and food isn't hard to find in a city.
The agency urges residents who might come across a coyote to:
-- Secure all food sources to prevent coyote access
-- Keep small pets in kennels or watch them while they're outside
-- Vaccinate all pets for rabies and other diseases
-- Harass coyotes that do not run from people by yelling or waving your arms at them