INDIAN ROCKS BEACH — Coyotes are here to stay; govern yourselves accordingly.
The city of Indian Rocks Beach and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will conduct an educational presentation about coyotes in Florida.
This session will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 12, from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the IRB auditorium, 1507 Bay Palm Blvd.
Coyotes have been seen frequently in the county, including along the beaches. City Manager Gregg Mims said Indian Rocks Beach has many new residents who are not expecting to see one. A coyote or two were spotted in the city about two to three years ago.
“It caused a good bit of stress around town. People are just not used to seeing it,” Mims said.
About six months ago, the city received a few random calls about coyotes and reports of residents losing their cats.
Mims began looking into how other cities respond to the presence of coyotes. City officials decided to have a wildlife biologist conduct an educational program with residents.
“It’s like other things in wildlife. We’re kind of our worst enemies. We leave food out for our dogs. We leave food out for our cats. Coyotes look for that,” he said.
He said he has a video showing a coyote crossing the Belleair Beach Causeway bridge at about 3 or 4 a.m.
“This session is to really to start educating the public on the fact that coyotes are here to stay. The city’s plan currently is — like all the other cities, the county and the state — we are not going to get into the business of trapping animals,” Mims said.
In addition to the presentation, the city plans to have a question and answer session at the end of the Nov. 12 session.
City officials will also use its quarterly newsletter, website and Facebook page to remind residents about the presence of coyotes.
Though the agency doesn’t trap or remove coyotes. Pinellas County Animal Services gathers data for confirmation of coyote locations. Residents can call a private commercial wildlife removal service to remove an individual offending animal.
Full-grown coyotes typically weigh about 28 pounds. Coat colors range from gray to rusty brown. Their bushy tails are usually black-tipped.
There have been very few reported cases of western coyotes biting people. Their fear of humans tends to keep them from coming into close contact with people, county officials say.