ST. PETE BEACH – Coyotes are on the prowl in the community. No handouts, please.
St. Pete Beach City Commissioner Jim Parent said at the commission meeting Feb. 12 he had several communications in the past week, more than in the four years he has been on the commission, about coyotes.
“It’s not unusual. There’s coyotes all over the place, I guess, and have been in this area since 1970,” he said.
Pinellas Animal Control advises that any coyote that is not fearful to humans should be reported to the agency. They are highly adaptable animals and will continue to make their homes in suitable habitats in the county, the agency’s website says.
Vice Mayor Marvin Shavian said that at a recent meeting, the Sheriff’s Office estimated that there are about 400 coyotes in the county.
“They are afraid of humans. Typically, they are not going to be an issue, although you need to keep your pets inside. They will attack and eat your pets. So that’s a problem,” he said.
“We know people feed sea gulls, so I can see someone trying to give half a sandwich to a coyote,” Parent said jokingly.
At a panel discussion in Pinellas Park on coyotes in 2010, wildlife authorities said keeping all food sources, including pets and livestock feed, indoors or locked away was the best method of keeping coyotes at bay.
Trapping a coyote is difficult. Targeting coyotes seen in too small an area, a single homeowner’s backyard for example, was futile, as the sighted coyote may never return to that exact spot, a trapper said.