Coyotes are not uncommon in the state of Arkansas. All counties within the state have them, but it seems the population of the species has been increasing along with sightings within the city limits of Heber Springs.
Coyotes are relatives of the wolf family, but much smaller. They are roughly the size of collie dogs. An adult male coyote can weigh between 18 to 40 pounds and the adult females can weigh anywhere between 20 to 25 pounds. Often times it’s rare to find a coyote that weighs over 40 pounds. If the coyote is heavier than normal, it is possible it is not a coyote, but a dog or a coyote dog hybrid.
They are one of the most adaptable animals in the world. Coyotes are able change their breeding habits and diet to survive in a wide range of many different habitats.
Coyotes do not mind being in human populated areas, but most of the time they like to keep their distance from human beings. They commonly create dens in brush piles along forest edges, close to crop lands and pastures, or even nearby abandoned farm structures.
They will stay close to a water source, like a pond, creek, river, and/or lake.
The question still remains, why are Heber Springs citizens starting to see more coyotes within the city limits?
“They’re hungry” said Arkansas Game and Fish Wildlife officer Jon Coates.
Coyotes are oftentimes creatures of the night, but if they are unable to eat what they can find, they will resort to hunting or scavenging during day light hours.
Coyotes typically hunt snakes, small insects, lizards, small birds, deer, and sometimes small dogs and cats. Farmers need to be on the lookout because they will hunt cattle. In the winter months when hunting is low, they will eat fruits and vegetables like watermelon and corn.
When they do not succeed in a hunt, they will resort to scavenging. They can often times be found getting into trash or scraps left out.
“Put food sources away” continued Coates.
To help keep coyotes away from populated areas, be sure to put away food sources as often as possible. If you have an outside pet, be sure to feed them once a day during daylight hours.