The Washington Post is reporting that Coyotes have finally moved into the D.C. area.
State wildlife biologists say the coyotes in the Washington region are nearly twice the size of their cousins in the Southwest and can run up to 35 mph. Virtually nonexistent in this area 20 years ago, they already seem to be losing their fear of humans.
Coyotes possess a wealth of hunting skills. They look like wolves, are much stronger than foxes and can silently sneak up on their prey and then pounce, like a cat. Wildlife biologists say they are highly adaptable and can eat up to 100 kinds of food, including insects, pets, grass, fruits and even shoe leather.
The result is an increase in coyote attacks.
At the West Falls Church Metro station, a Lhasa apso was set upon by a coyote as the dog was being walked by its owner Monday night. The man was able to protect the dog by throwing rocks at the coyote to scare it off, Keenan said.Thats 2 miles from my house. Its the metro station I use and located in a pretty darn developed area. Luckily, no one in the D.C. area has been attacked yet.
Nearby, a cat was killed in front of its owner in late May by a pair of coyotes. The woman screamed and thought she had scared them off, but they circled around the house and went after her other two cats in the back yard. She was able to get those pets inside.
People are rarely the targets of coyotes, although rabid coyotes will attack. They usually contract rabies from hunting infected raccoons and bats. The only known human assault in Virginia in the past five years was in New Kent County in January 2003. In that case, a man riding a lawn mower was attacked by a rabid coyote weighing about 50 pounds, large for a coyote. After kicking it away several times, the man was able to get his shotgun and shoot the animal as it chased him to his front porch, state records say.Ouch. Luckily I live in Virginia and I can walk my son and dog with the knowledge that my sidearm is always tucked away inside my waistband. Of course, the nanny's here in Northern Virginia have their heads in the sand (which is still an improvement over DC or Maryland) and are afraid of the only real solution.
In Falls Church, where several pets have been attacked, city animal control officer Rebecca Keenan is advising residents not to allow cats or small dogs to roam, especially at night.Well, she can speak for herself. I won't hit anyone but the coyote.
Some local residents view them as vermin and are calling for their eradication. That, though, might be impossible, Keenan said. Coyotes are too smart for leg traps, and it would hardly be safe to allow hunters to shoot them in city streets, she said.
And guess what - I can take him out, according to the state.
Continuous open season to take coyotes on private lands. Coyote hunting on some public lands is allowed only during certain time periods. See National Forest-Game Department Regulations.Heck, even wussy Fairfax County allows me to take him out, as long as I use the appropriate varmit gun.