Massachusetts Has 12,000 Coyotes, Here’s What To Know
You likely read about coyotes roaming in your part of the state this past winter. Perhaps you even saw some. Late January through March is the typical coyote mating season here. So, here’s what you need to know about Massachusetts having 12,000 coyotes in the state.
This past winter was uncharacteristically warm. This meant coyotes were more comfortable being out during their aggressive season. We have now reached the season where they give birth to a den of 4-8 pups. The parents are generally protective of their babies until they disperse in the fall. Last year, especially on the south shore, coyotes were highly visible during the fall season. Fortunately, we have a few months now where coyotes are territorial. They will remain close to their dens until they are older and physically capable of living on their own, come the autumn season. It is important to note that coyotes do not hibernate, however. They are active all year.
Early this year, Wildlife Boss published a report that detailed how many coyotes each state in the country has. They estimated Massachusetts has 12,000, which was the second highest population in New England. This was slightly behind Maine who has 15,000. Surprisingly, Rhode Island was next with 3,600 – 6,070 coyotes. Additionally, they state 500,000 coyotes are harvested in the country per year. Hawaii is the only state that does not have any.
What Does This Mean?
“Coyotes are present in every city and town in mainland Massachusetts, meaning the opportunity for human-coyote interaction is high,” Mass.gov states. When the pups leave their den they are likely to roam the same areas they come from. They have been trained to think that it is their territory. They eat whatever is easiest to obtain, making them “opportunistic feeders.” There’s not a lot that is “off limits” in the coyote diet. They will eat rodents, roadkill, insects, dead birds, fruits or pet food that is left out. Pet owners are always advised to keep their cats and smaller dogs inside or under their direct supervision during an active coyote season.
One common reaction to coyotes is to be fearful. Wildlife and animal control centers suggest not being intimidated by these animals. “Repeated hazing helps teach coyotes they are not welcome in your yard, similar to how coyotes naturally chase other coyotes out of their own territories. The more people in a community that haze coyotes, the more effective it will be in making them avoid people,” the state suggests. In fact, banging pots and pans, making loud noises, and spraying a coyote with a hose are effective ways to haze them. It makes them know they are not welcome in these areas. If you feed them, they regard your home as an inviting habitat.
You can take preventative measures to limit the chances of coyotes visiting your yard. Cutting back bushes, securing garbage, and closing off crawl spaces are some suggested actions.
If you have additional questions about what to know regarding the 12,000 coyotes in Massachusetts, Mass.Gov/masswildlife is a good resource.