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Coyote sightings in Sterling Heights prompts police Facebook post

Posted at 2:02 PM, Aug 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-30 18:26:15-04

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. (WXYZ) — As reports of coyotes rise, police in Sterling Heights have issued a warning about them to residents of the city.

The warning was posted to the police department's officials Facebook page.

It reads as follows:

With coyote sightings being called in, we would like to educate our community members on how to react and keep all humans and animals safe!

Our Sterling Heights Animal Control Officers have approached the coyotes on runs and in every instance, the coyotes have acted normal, that is they proceeded to get up and run away from the humans. The officers have not observed any atypical behavior that would lead to concern.

From a distance, coyotes can be difficult to distinguish from a medium-sized German Shepherd dog. Coyotes weigh between 25 - 40 pounds and carry their bushy, black tipped tail downward or below the level of their back. Coyotes can often live six to eight years in the wild.

Coyotes are active day and night, however, activity peaks near sunrise and sunset. Coyotes are opportunistic and will eat almost anything available. Small mammals such as mice, voles, rabbits and squirrels are preferred foods in suburban and urban areas. Birds, insects, fruits, berries, frogs, snakes, carrion, plants and seeds round out their diet. In areas with high deer numbers, carrion resulting from vehicle/deer collisions, natural causes and crippling losses is an important source of food. In urban areas, neighborhoods and residential areas, coyotes are attracted to garbage, garden vegetables and pet food. They will also prey on unattended small dogs and cats if opportunities exist. Coyotes generally feed at night.

The following important points can help minimize potential conflicts with coyotes:

Never approach or touch a coyote
Never intentionally feed a coyote
Eliminate all outside food sources, especially pet foods
Put garbage out the morning of pickup day
Clear out wood and brush piles; they are good habitats for mice and rats which may attract coyotes
Accompany your pets outside, especially at dawn and dusk
Never leave your pets, especially small dogs, unattended outside

Trapping Coyotes:

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Macomb County Health Department, the city of Sterling Heights and other control agencies do not recommend trapping because the required traps are too large and can pose a threat to children and small pets. Trapping on public property is not permitted. However, there are agencies that will trap on private property.

For More Information, call:

USDA Wildlife Services – Michigan State Division: 517-336-1928
Michigan Department of Natural Resources: 734-953-0241
Macomb County Animal Shelter: 586- 469-5115
Sterling Heights Library: 586-446-BOOK
Sterling Heights Nature Center: 586-446-2710