Several Churchill County residents have reported seeing coyotes in their yards during the past week.
According to one resident who lives west of the city in Rivers Edge, she saw a coyote next to her window.
“He was pretty decent size,” she said.
Chris Healy, a spokesman for the Nevada Department of Wildlife, said on Friday spring-like conditions are responsible for people seeing more coyotes. Similar sightings and problems of coyotes attacking small pets have been reported in the Reno-Sparks area and in Carson City near the Carson River and along the foothills.
“The fact that we have good weather and people are outside more, they are noticing more,” Healy said. “The coyotes are attracted to human activity related to food, small pets and livestock such as chickens.”
Healy said the Fallon area usually has more sightings because of his agriculture base. He said if farmers have problems with coyotes, they will call the Nevada Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services.
“Seeing a coyote does not elicit a big response from us,” Healy said.
As for mountain lions roaming near the river, which many county residents reported in December 2014, neither he nor the local game warden said NDOW has not received any recent reports.
At the time, Healy said two to three mountain lions were working the river corridor looking for food; however, county residents should still be vigilant. Healy said mountain lions may look for food near the Carson River. Healy also said young mountain lions tend to roam together in pairs.
The NDOW website also says “mountain lions are adapted to a wide variety of habitats and environmental conditions found in Nevada. They prefer dense cover or rocky, rugged terrain, but also occur in desert areas.”
As for the coyoteos, Healy does have recommendations for people who are concerned with the animals. When it comes to coyotes, Healy reminds residents to protect their pets. Coyotes are opportunistic hunters and will take a pet if they think they can get away with it.
Pets left alone in a yard, even when the yard is fenced, are in danger. Healy said pets should always be supervised while outdoors.
Other advice Healy has includes the following:
If you take your pet on daily walks adjust your schedule to walk pets only during the daylight hours as coyotes often look for food during the cooler times of the day such as early morning and dusk.
Another must is to always keep your pet on a leash.
Should you encounter a coyote making loud noises, wave your hands or objects like a stick or broom, or spray the coyote with water from a garden hose.
Don’t turn away or run because that may trigger the animal’s predator instinct, but don’t corner a coyote either. Give the animal room to escape.