Coyote population ‘booming’ in Houston, says biologist
HOUSTON - Residents of Acres Homes in Houston say a bad coyote problem has led to the death of one man’s dog.
Neighbors say the many wooded areas of Acres Homes tend to attract more wildlife.
"I’ve seen a bunch of them running around here in the Acres Homes community," said Denerrick, an Acres Homes resident. "Y’all need to come get them."
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"I heard about a dog attack on the bayou pretty close to us about a mile away," said Tom Gomez, another Acres Homes resident.
The urban coyotes of Houston run in packs and like to forage for food when darkness falls, according to neighbors and Texas Parks and Wildlife officials.
"I’ve personally seen them on an evening bike ride along White Oak Bayou," said Gomez.
"They come out at night, and they run in packs," added Denerrick.
"Oh actually coyotes are quite common in the City of Houston," said Kelly Norrid, an urban wildlife biologist for Texas Parks and Wildlife.
He says coyotes have roamed Houston for decades, along bayous and moving from wooded area to wooded area.
"We’ve been hearing a lot recently over the last few years that coyote numbers are just booming throughout Houston," Norrid explained.
In fact, Norrid has been studying the diets of urban coyotes.
"Squirrels, rats, raccoons, whitetail deer—so it pretty much follows what they eat with their rural cousin," said Norrid.
He says coyotes are not known to harm humans, and attacks on pets are very rare.
"Less than two percent of their diet has even been made up of domesticated pets or animals," said Norrid.
Neighbors say it’s not unusual to hear the coyotes howling at night.
"Never got close," said Gomez. "They were on the other side of the bayou. But you can tell they’re not dogs. It was a few of them—maybe three or four of them."
Texas parks and wildlife officials say, if you see one, wave your arms and yell to scare it away. Also, Norrid says don’t try to befriend a coyote because that could lead to a confrontation.