Eden Prairie has many large open areas that coyotes, foxes and other wild animals find inviting to live in and forage for food. We don't always see them but that doesn't mean they're not here; occasionally an alert resident will spot one in their backyard and call Animal Control with questions.
Coyotes are members of the dog family, weighing about 30 pounds and standing 18-inches-high at the shoulders. They may appear much larger due to their heavy fur coats, especially in winter. They are gray/brown and somewhat resemble a small German shepherd dog.
Typically, coyotes are opportunistic hunters and will take advantage of the easiest and most available food sources. These include many different types of food ranging from garbage to small mammals and birds. Unfortunately, they may infrequently also prey on domestic cats or small dogs so it's always a good idea to monitor your pet while it's outside, even if you aren't aware of anything in your area.
Although coyotes can be a threat to domestic pets, they are not a threat to humans. In fact, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), there has never been a documented coyote attack on a human in Minnesota. Statistics from around the country show people are far more likely to be bitten by a domestic dog than to be bitten by a coyote. Click here for more information from the DNR about urban coyotes in Minnesota. The DNR suggests taking these precautions to prevent problems with coyotes:
- Secure all garbage containers, wildlife feeders and other food sources to prevent coyote access.
- Confine small dogs and cats in kennels, or supervise them when outside.
- Vaccinate all pets for rabies, distemper, parvo and other diseases, as recommended by a veterinarian.
- Consider installing coyote-proof fencing.
- Harass (by chasing or shouting) any coyotes that do not immediately run from people.
- Leash and attend your pet when walking in any recreational area.
- If you confront a coyote, shout or make some other loud noise to frighten the animal away.
- Leave pet food or garbage outside.
- Intentionally feed coyotes.
- Leave small dogs or cats outside unattended.