Bobcats, coyotes and other urban wildlife are present throughout North Texas, including here in Allen. However, seeing these animals in your neighborhood can be unnerving. Read on for the top questions about urban wildlife—including a free opportunity to learn much more.
Can Allen Animal Control trap, move or kill the wildlife roaming my neighborhood?
Allen Animal Control does not intervene when these animals are roaming their natural habitat, which includes urban environments. However, animal control officers will respond to reports of sick, injured or unusually aggressive wildlife. Officers will also help move urban wildlife confined in a trap or structure.
Why don’t they stay away from populated areas?
When urban wildlife such as bobcats or coyotes have been found roaming in neighborhoods, bird feeders are frequently to blame. Rodents such as rabbits, rats and squirrels are attracted to fallen food, creating a convenient hunting ground for bobcats and coyotes. Pet food, trash and other food waste left outdoors create a similar problem. Coyote sightings are more common during their mating season, which begins in February.
Will coyotes or bobcats eat my pet?
Rodents are the primary source of food for urban coyotes and bobcats. Coyotes also eat insects and fruit. Though unusual, encounters between coyotes/bobcats and household pets can be dangerous or deadly. This is especially true for small dogs, which may act aggressive or overly-confident for their size. Small dogs (under 25 lbs.) should be supervised when outside, including in the backyard. When walking a small dog, use a 6-foot, non-retractable leash to keep the dog close. Animal control officers advise pet owners not to let cats roam free.
Will coyotes or bobcats hurt my children?
Coyote attacks are very rare. According to Humane Society, more people are killed by errant golf balls and flying champagne corks each year than are bitten by coyotes. In most documented cases of coyote or bobcat attacks, the attacking animal tested positive for rabies. If you notice urban wildlife acting sick or unusually aggressive, call Allen Animal Control at 214.509.4378 to report.
According to 911 Wildlife, there are no documented cases of wild bobcats attacking children.
What should I do if I see one?
If you spot a coyote or bobcat in the distance, don’t stand around looking or taking pictures. It just makes them less frightened of us humans. If a you encounter a coyote or bobcat up close, stand tall, clap your hands, yell and make as much noise as possible. Cow bells, hoses, Super Soaker water guns and whistles have been used to discourage coyotes or bobcats from approaching humans.
I hear coyotes howling every night – and it sounds like there are dozens of them! Isn’t it dangerous to have a pack of coyotes so close to humans?
Coyotes can make 11 different vocalizations. In fact, their Latin name means “singing dog!” When all these vocalizations are strung together, one or two coyotes can sound like a pack. Though a coyote family (pack) can include multiple animals, they normally hunt alone or in pairs so the chances of encountering multiple animals at once is extremely unlikely.
Are you providing any education to citizens about bobcats and coyotes?
Yes! Bonnie Bradshaw of 911 Wildlife will share information about urban wildlife ecology and behaviors at Allen Public Library at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 21. Sponsored by Allen Animal Control, this program is free.