A couple months after coyote mating season, which makes coyotes more rambunctious, the packs of Rio Rancho are getting rowdy.
Mason Junchaya was returning to his home in Loma Colorado from a friend’s house, when a pack of coyotes invaded his front yard.
“It was scary. Normally, I only see coyotes here and there. This time though there were six or seven,” Junchaya said.
This was his second incident with coyotes. About a week before, he heard their “eerie” howls right outside his house.
“I was attacked by a dog when I was a kid, so yeah, it was scary for sure,” he said.
Junchaya also worries about his cat’s well being since coyotes have been known to eat smaller animals.
“I won’t let her outside as much now that I know they are there,” he said.
Coyotes typically travel by themselves or in pairs. It is rare to see a whole pack in one spot. They can be seen and heard from Tierra Del Sol to Northern Meadows to Enchanted Hills in the Rio Rancho area.
Many neighborhoods in Rio Rancho border their natural habitat: the desert.
Coyotes inhabit all life zones of the desert southwest from low valley floors to the crest of the highest mountains, but especially open plains, grasslands and high mesas.
Some studies indicate that in the desert, valleys and low foothills, coyotes occupy a range of no more than 10 or 12 square miles, according to Desert USA. They will gravitate towards food resources though.
According to Project Coyote, a research group dedicated to creating coexistence between humans and animals, packs only travel together when defending territory or coyote pups.
A pack consists of seven adults and up to seven pups.
“I understand that coyotes are hard to keep track of, but it would be nice to have some form of control for situations like this,” Junchaya said.
Over the past 10 years coyotes have expanded to all United States except for Hawaii.
Coyote experts say that the state’s recent spate of record wildfire could be pushing coyotes into more residential areas.
“Coyotes, like many wildlife, will naturally run away from a fire. While we can’t say definitively that the recent fires are the cause of coyote sightings, it may have a part to play,” said New Mexico Wildlife expert Tanya Espinosa,
Desert USA also warns residents not to leave food out, because that could draw coyotes. This includes human and pet food. Small pets and children may also be at risk if they are unattended by an adult.
Harass coyotes that get too close for comfort by making loud noises, clapping hands, yelling, throwing rocks at them and waving your arms..
Call the local Department of Game and Fish (311) or local law enforcement agency (911) immediately, if you are attacked by a coyote, see them approaching a human or showing lack of fear of humans, or if a coyote has attacked a small pet.
The City of Rio Rancho Parks and Recreation Department has the solution to protecting homes from coyotes. The simple answer is to “haze” them. In other words, people should make themselves tall and loud to scare coyotes off.
The city website also says, “Coyotes that freeze and stare at people, or only move a short distance before stopping and looking, are likely not aggressive. Coyotes are curious animals that are
comfortable in urban environments, and will sometimes follow people and pets on leash. These animals should be actively hazed.”
If incidents are severe enough, there are some repellents that can be used.
Steps to follow when scaring off a coyote, according to the Rio Rancho City web site:
- Stand your ground
- Make sure the coyote is focused on you
- If you see more than one coyote, continue your hazing efforts; multiple animals will most likely respond to the same hazing techniques at the same time.
- Make it multi-sensory. Use tools that scare with sound light, and motion.
- Hazing should be exaggerated, assertive and consistent
- Coyotes have routine habits so break them