Kathy Stewart, wtop.com
WASHINGTON – When you think of the D.C. area, you normally don’t think of coyotes living here. But think again.
Greg Weiler, project leader for the Potomac River National Wildlife Refuge Complex, says coyotes thrive in suburban and urban areas most times without being noticed.
“It’s highly likely that some are running around in the metropolitan area.”
He adds that the suburban and urban coyotes are mostly nocturnal feasting at local trash bins. But their counter-parts, who live in parks and wildlife refuges, such as the Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, are seen during the daylight hours.
There have been coyotes living in Rock Creek Park.
The first reported sightings started in May 2004, according to the National Park Service.
The park service says most have been reported in the upper section of Rock Creek Park between Military and Wise roads.
Coyotes usually mate in January and February, and give birth to pups between March and May.
The coyote is not native to the eastern part of the U.S., but has been in Virginia and Maryland for decades.
Weiler says the animal’s presence is “relatively recent in Northern Virginia, but becoming more abundant through the years.” He says they’re becoming common around here.
The coyote is an animal of opportunity and is highly adaptable.
“They can squeak out a living any place,” he says.
But why have coyotes expanded and pushed their way into the area?
Weiler says there are a variety of factors but currently they don’t have any real predators with exception of man.
For now Weiler says they are not really a threat to us. If you do happen actually see a coyote, he says, “just see it and know what it is and enjoy it.”
Of course, you don’t want to do anything to encourage coyotes. Among the suggestions from the National Park Service:
- Keep pet food indoors;
- Don’t let your pets run loose;
- Keep your trash in tightly closed cans.
Follow WTOP on Twitter.
(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)