Coyotes are everywhere so it’s no surprise they’ve shown up in Mammoth Lakes to enjoy an abundance of carelessly discarded people-food. Mammoth Police Department’s Code Compliance Officer Rick Bellis gave a detailed presentation on the species at last week’s Mammoth Town Council meeting to help locals discourage the critters Mark Twain described as a “long, slim, slick and sorry-looking skeleton that is a living, breathing allegory of Want.”
Coyotes are adaptable canines that will eat anything according to Bellis. Their territory
stretches from Central America to the Arctic. They travel in packs, three of which have been
identified in the Mammoth Lakes area: Valentine Cabin, the loop and the skate park. They are
nocturnal, roughly as big as a medium-sized dog, and leave tracks narrower than domestic
canines with a distinctive middle line.
Bellis explained the breeding season runs from February through March. Following a 60-day
gestation period, four or five pups are added to the population. Coyotes tend to form packs in
the fall, packs usually made up of extended family members.
Nature is able to regulate populations he told the Council providing Nature is not interfered
with by people. Coyotes’ menu includes small dogs and cats.
Coyotes don’t have a death wish—if you see one, Bellis said, “it’s looking for food, not a fight.
But packs will fight. The biggest issue is when coyotes lose their fear of people.” Relocation isn’t
an option as the coyote will just head back to its food source. “Our only option is to kill them,”
Basically, the best way to preserve the species is to avoid them. Bellis laid out a list of don’ts,
Do not feed coyotes
Eliminate sources of water
Bird feeders should be positioned so coyotes can’t get the feed. Coyotes are not only
attracted to the goodies in the feeders but to the birds and rodents that use the feeders
Do not discard edible garage where coyotes can get it
Secure garbage containers
Feed pets indoors and pick up any left-overs if fed outdoors
Store food where it is inaccessible
Trim and clean shrubbery that provides cover for animals
Don’t leave small children unattended outdoors
Don’t allow pets to run free
Walk your dog on a leash and accompany your pets outside, especially at night