What's a Coyote Shaker? Facts About Rochester Hills' Other Canines

There's a lot of coyote talk around town so Patch talked to Rochester Hills city naturalist Lance DeVoe to get some tips and information.

There's a coyote in your backyard. What do you do?

"Throw something, wave a broom or yell," Rochester Hills city naturalist Lance DeVoe said. "Coyotes need to be afraid of people in order to live harmoniously with us. They need to know we're dominant."

A Coyote Shaker may also come in handy, and it's something you can make yourself with a can, about 40 pennies and some duct tape. Drop pennies in can, cover hole with tape and shake.

"You need to scare them away," DeVoe said, "Keep them from getting comfortable,"

Are there more?

According to DeVoe, the Rochester area has always had coyotes, and probably always will.

"Other than rats they're the most adaptable animals," DeVoe said. "Their habitat is being developed and they've adapted to this loss by accepting your neighborhoods as their new habitat."

But as to the claim that the coyote population has increased, DeVoe doesn't believe it's accurate to say that.

DeVoe thinks it may be a case of increased sightings, not animals, as our habitats overlap.

Not always a villian

The coyote is basically a wild dog. They mate for life and are very territorial, not tolerating other coyotes in their area. 

"They're a lot smaller than people think," DeVoe said. "Usually 30 pounds, 45 pounds maximum. They're long-limbed so they may appear larger."

Coyotes have a big home range, according to DeVoe, covering 10-15 miles. They don't hibernate and are active year round.

"They come to an area, eat all the rodents and small mammals and then move on," DeVoe said. 

And that's why in some environments the coyote aren't necessarily considered the bad guys.

"It's the balance of nature," DeVoe said. "They keep the rodents in check."

What about my bird feeder?

It's true that a bird feeder can feed more than birds and attract other animals, like coyotes, in the process. 

"The wrong kind of bird feeder can create a target rich environment," DeVoe said. But rather than not feeding the birds, you may just want to reconsider your feeder. 

DeVoe recommended thistle feeders, suet and tube feeders, while avoiding hopper feeders.

Because it important to know that the coyote diet can include small mammals, like cats and dogs.

"It's still rare for a coyote to attack a small dog but it can happen," DeVoe said. "People, especially those living near fields or parks, need to know to watch out for coyote and keep an eye on their pets."




Jennifer VanHowe November 01, 2012 at 01:05 PM
Great info thanks -- we had two in our front yard last Saturday
Marcia Decker November 01, 2012 at 01:25 PM
We have had them in our backyard for the last three years. We live against a large wooded area. I even have pictures of one lounging under our pine trees while it stalked our neighbor's large dog. Two coyotes also attacked our other neighbor's small dog, not 30 feet from their back door! We now keep our cat indoors. I will try the shaker thing -- hopefully it works. Thanks.
Al Trudeau November 01, 2012 at 09:22 PM
My only real concern is whether they are likely to attack people - - especially children. Can anybody offer any factual knowledge about that? Al Trudeau, Oakland Twp.
Sarah November 02, 2012 at 02:59 AM
I'm thinking we should relocate a few of these coyotes to the warren and sterling heights areas to get rid of all the rats.
Laura Cassar November 02, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Al, Naturalist Lance DeVoe kindly answered your question: "In Michigan there has never been a reported attack by coyotes. In the rare cases when it happens it almost always involve people feeding them. I know of cases in California and a few others but it is very rare."
RMSMITH December 07, 2012 at 11:46 AM
I have been TNR felines, for the past 2 years, I ended up with a friendly, put gates on my porch where he slept at nite, but he was free roaming, last Sat. nite a coyote must have attacked him, he's missing and the neighbors heard a horrible dog and cat fight in the middle of the nite. These poor ferals are up against so bad odds with coyotes after them too. I miss my friendly boy, wish I knew more about keeping the coyotes away.
Sandy Laurence March 06, 2013 at 07:25 AM
Two years ago, we had not one rabbit, ground hot, raccoon or chipmunk in our yard, because of the coyotes. I enjoy the little animals and don't want the coyotes wiping them out. I'd like to put up a fence around my yard. Back several years, before coyotes began hanging around our yards, we weren't overrun with rabbits, raccoons or chipmunks. We don't need so many of them now. I think the City should control them.


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