Coyote breeding season can cause increased human conflicts in winter months | SummitDaily.com

Coyote breeding season can cause increased human conflicts in winter months

During the months of January and February, coyotes can be more aggressive than usual toward humans because the early winter functions as the animal's annual mating season.

If it seems coyotes are less tolerant of human presence during the months of January and February, it's because they are, as a result of it being their annual mating season.

As coyotes pair up to breed, they can be more territorial than usual to defend space as they carve out a place to have their young. As a result, Colorado Parks and Wildlife advises people who come across a coyote to keep plenty of distance in both metro and rural areas during the winter months.

Last year in this same time period, CPW received reports of human-coyote conflicts, with a young Centennial girl being nipped, an animal showing aggression toward an Aurora woman pushing her grandson in a stroller and four incidents in Lakewood of mangy coyotes flashing their teeth. Mange is caused by a small skin parasite that is highly contagious and pet owners should keep their domestic animals far away.

"In addition to transferring disease, unfortunately, coyotes can see our pets as a prey source," Liza Hunholz, a CPW wildlife manager in Denver, said in a statement. "Pet owners need to be extra diligent about protecting their animals."

Coyotes are omnivores and will eat everything from birdseed to rodents, berries, garbage and sometimes outdoor cats and dogs. Three tips will help Coloradans share the landscape even during times of heightened aggression from these wild neighbors: Don't feed wildlife, protect your pets and ensure coyotes understand they aren't welcome when you see them. Do not attempt to hurt them, but yelling at them or clapping your hands to scare them off are all CPW-recommended methods.

Coyotes are naturally curious animals, but timid and usually run away if confronted. Coyote attacks on humans are rare and typically can be traced to people feeding them, a nearby den where one feels threatened or a pet in a coyote's presence. If you witness a coyote behaving aggressively, report the incident to your local CPW office, and on the off-chance you are bitten or scratched by one, immediately seek medical attention.

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For more information on coyotes, visit: cpw.state.co.us/learn/pages/livingwithwildlifecoyote.aspx.