TEWKSBURY — During this time of year, coyotes are frequently spotted throughout Tewksbury and the State of Massachusetts as a whole. Territorial animals, coyotes can often be seen between dawn and dusk patrolling their territory, often in proximity to local homes and businesses.
This proximity likely stems from loss of the animal’s natural habitat. Massachusetts is among the most densely populated states in the nation, losing roughly 40 acres of land a day to development on average. As their natural habitat decreases, human interactions increase, for coyotes are drawn to neighborhoods in search of food and water. In general, these resources are generally available in urban and suburban areas.
Though typically afraid of humans, coyotes can pose a threat to smaller animals, including common housepets. Coyotes are known to attack and kill pets, notably cats and small dogs (less than 25 pounds). Consequently, it is generally recommended for pet owners to supervise and/or leash dogs when outside, and keep cats indoors.
Though apt to threaten pets, coyotes typically are afraid of humans. If one enters a homeowner’s yard, the MSPCA recommends making loud noises (like banging pots and pans together), spraying it with a hose, and/or tossing tennis balls near the animal in order to frighten it away. However, in general, the risk of coyote attacks are extremely low so long as proper precautions are taken.
The town has taken action in the past to educate residents on the presence of coyotes in the community. Back in February of 2019, Tewksbury Animal Control held a presentation at Town Hall titled: “Living with Coyotes.” The presentation was conducted by John Macguranis, Belmont ACO and Massachusetts Representative for Project Coyote.
Among topics discussed were Pet and Human Safety, Myths and Facts, Natural Behavior, and Habits and Diet.
Additionally, town residents often inform each other of coyote sightings through local facebook pages, such as “Tewksbury Wildlife” or “Tewksbury MA Residents.”
To learn more about how to successfully coexist with coyotes without negative consequences, Project Coyote proves to be a good resource. Their website, found at http://www.projectcoyote.org, offers information about coyotes and other wild dogs as well as ways to peacefully coexist. Additional information canbe found through the MSPCA’s website: https://www.mspca.org/animal_protection/co-existing-with-coyotes.