It’s not every day that you walk down your street and see a coyote standing there — unless you live in Daytona Beach, that is. On Monday, a resident spotted a coyote near Seabreeze Blvd in the area, where it was roaming the road near a parking lot.
Over the last year, there have been multiple sightings of the wolf-like canines in Volusia County, leading to concerns that their population is growing uncontrollably and putting lives in danger.
If you’re wondering why there have been so many sightings and whether it’s cause for concern, all will be revealed shortly.
Not your usual Monday
At 7:15 am on Monday, a Daytona Beach local spotted a coyote wandering down N Grandview Ave, on the beachside of town near Seabreeze Boulevard. The resident promptly called Daytona Beach Animal Service to alert them about the sighting, which was one report of many in recent times.
The photo below (originally posted on Reddit) shows a coyote crossing the road close to SunTrust bank and a parking lot. Shocking? Perhaps to some — but this is nothing now.
Other similar sightings
Although the sight of a coyote tends to startle anyone who encounters it firsthand, reports related to the animal are nothing new. In fact, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation says there have been more than 5,000 sightings of coyotes in the state between 2015 and 2019. Given the steep increases in sightings recently, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the numbers are far higher now, although there’s a lack of more recent statistics.
It seems that this phenomenon isn’t unique to the Daytona Beach area, either — there have also been recent sightings of coyotes in Ormond Beach, a neighboring city.
The first reports in the area came in 2019, and since then, the numbers have only grown. One local has reported her woes of losing six cats after they fell victims to coyotes in her own backyard, and this case is far from an anomaly.
There have also been increases in coyote sightings in Florida cities like Broward and Dania Beach, among other areas.
Why it’s happening
The issue here doesn’t seem to be that more coyotes are being spotted; rather, it’s that the coyote population is increasing.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature has coyotes listed in the “least concern” category thanks to their increasing population, and the canine species is most abundant in North America. Although there’s limited data on how many coyotes have been spotted in Florida, there have been sightings in all 67 counties. They’ve also been found in every US state except for Hawaii.
While not a brand new phenomenon, there haven’t always been this many coyotes around. The first one in Florida was spotted in 1990 near Broward County, although some claim they’ve been around since the 60s.
Why? It seems the animals will go wherever food is readily available (namely, cities), and they may have originally followed wild cats around the country. Since the animals are so adaptable, they’ve successfully managed to thrive in a range of different environments, including urban areas and hot and cold climates alike.
It’s likely the coyote population has increased exponentially since the 60s; the females have a litter of between two and twelve offspring every single year, so the numbers soon add up.
Even when the authorities remove coyotes from one area, it can be counterproductive by encouraging coyotes from other areas to move in, possibly resulting in even more offspring than before. Given this difficulty, the only solution may be for the local population to get used to sharing their home with the animals.
Fortunately, the animals pose minimal risk to humans — in fact, they’re terrified of them. But they’re still predators, so they may eat pets and small animals. They can also pose a risk to small children, although in practice this is very rare.
What can you do?
Nobody wants to find out that their local area is rife with dangerous animals, but take some solace in knowing that the problem doesn’t currently pose any serious danger. Remember, coyotes are scared of humans, so use that to your advantage.
You can protect yourself by fashioning a “coyote shaker” by placing a few coins in a sealed container and using it to frighten the animals away if you have an encounter. If you’re caught off-guard, making a loud noise or acting aggressive with whatever tools you have at hand can have a similar effect. It’s also smart to avoid leaving any food (including garbage, pet food, and fallen fruit) around your garden or house, and to clean up any that you come across in your area.
The most important thing is to keep your eyes peeled, your pets on a leash, and be sure to report any sightings you have of the animals so that the government knows they should take the issue seriously.
In the meantime, officials and wildlife experts are doing their best to find a solution and ensure the safety of everyone.
In early 2018, coyotes took out over a dozen of the sweet cats from a colony at a business that I used to feed on weekends. The employees would feed them on weekdays when they were working. They had been wondering why the cats had been disappearing over a 1-2 month span, and when one who was always waiting for them in the morning didn’t show up, that was when they decided to check their surveillance videos. They caught a coyote taking him, their mascot, on that video. It was horrible! The story was broadcast by the local news stations.
Since, the number of reported missing pet cats has increased immensely. The coyotes are also depleting the smaller wildlife.
I understand, these cities keep building, tearing down the land where the coyotes lived. They have nowhere to go. They’re terrified, I’m sure. They don’t choose to dwell in the urban areas, but now have no choice.
Human greed has taken over with no concern for preserving nature or wildlife, and now we’re in a mess. It’s sad