Coyotes spread in Florida and ‘they’re going to eat just about anything’

Pet owners should take caution and not let animals roam free, FWC warns

These smart and adaptable animals have been consuming everything from dog food to McDonalds wrappers. And they can be dangerous if you let your pets roam free.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Coyotes are just about everywhere in Florida, and these animals are on the move, adapting to the ever-changing landscapes.

We’ve gotten reports out of Southwest Miami-Dade, Hollywood, Dania Beach and Sunrise recently.

Officials say the coyotes are even chasing the feral cat population as far south as Key Largo, showing just how adaptable they are.

“How did the coyotes get there?” said Angeline Barker, a biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. “They either used the bridges and roadways or they swam, and it turns out, coyotes are fairly strong swimmers.”

Broward County Parks hosted a meeting with FWC to educate south Florida residents.

They explained why we may be having more sightings in general, especially in the daytime.

“Coyotes are omnivorous, which means they’re going to eat just about anything,” said Barker. “This is why coyotes are being drawn to urban areas. It’s for food that’s related to people.”

FWC showed several photos of coyote stomachs, revealing more about their diet. These smart and adaptable animals have been consuming everything from dog food to McDonald’s wrappers.

They are particularly drawn to parks and neighborhoods.

FWC makes it clear that these animals are not going anywhere and they’ve thrived despite construction and development.

Officials are pushing the importance of not allowing coyotes to get comfortable with people and to practice “hazing.” They’re also are encouraging residents to use foghorns and motion lights to keep coyotes away and keep pets from roaming free.

“I don’t want to sugarcoat it for you,” Barker said. “Coyotes and other wildlife, other predators will absolutely predate pets if they are free-ranging.”

FWC noted how uncommon it is for coyotes to attack people, so this isn’t something to be alarmed by, but something to be aware of. Dog attacks are far more common, according to FWC.

About the Author:

Andrew Perez is a South Florida native who joined the Local 10 News team in May 2014.