CITY OF ATLANTIC BEACH COYOTE REPORT
The City of Atlantic Beach has received reports of recent coyote sightings at various locations throughout the community.
As such, the City Manager’s Office is working with the Police Department in a fact-gathering capacity to determine what steps to take, if any, beyond public education.
Meanwhile, while our fact-gathering is ongoing, following is the City’s current message to the public. This report may be updated as the City obtains more information and perspective.
SIGHTINGS. The public is strongly encouraged to immediately report coyote sightings by calling your local law enforcement agency and to dial 911 if you sense imminent danger. In Atlantic Beach, please report coyote sightings by calling the Atlantic Beach Animal Control at (904) 247-5866 and/or Email Animal Control. If you are aware of past sightings, please share that information, as well, and provide an approximate time, date and location of the sighting. Additionally, when possible, please provide us the contact information of anyone who has seen coyotes recently and who has information related to coyotes attacking pets. We want to hear their stories. If residents have taken photos of a coyote in Atlantic Beach, we ask that they share the photos with us by Emailing Animal Control.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED. Attractants such as small free-ranging pets, pet food, garbage, bird seed, fallen fruit, etc. are common culprits that bring coyotes into communities. It is important to keep all cats indoors and dogs should be kept on a short leash and supervised while outdoors. People can also use hazing techniques (such as yelling, throwing rocks, using air horns or pepper spray, etc.) to scare the coyotes away as they see them. Coyotes are generally not a threat to people and are usually easily scared off.
SUBJECT-MATTER EXPERTS. The City of Atlantic Beach considers the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Humane Society of the United States, the University of Florida, and USDA Wildlife Services to be subject-matter experts on this topic. Thus, the City will profoundly consider those entities’ perspective and information upon developing courses of actions.
TRAPPING. While experts from the aforementioned entities tend to agree that the best approach to coyote presence is to coexist with them, procuring a licensed coyote trapper is among the courses of action the City could consider. It should be noted that per the FWC, all trapped animals are euthanized.
FEB. 12, 2018 STATEMENT FROM THE ATLANTIC BEACH POLICE DEPARTMENT. We have been talking with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC, which also utilizes research from the University of Florida and the United States Humane Society) for a couple of years now about coyotes.
There was a public meeting and town hall last year where FWC answered our questions and those of our residents. There was lots of good information shared. What we did learn from our meetings and discussions is that coyotes cannot be relocated as they will return to the area. Also, if you kill coyotes, other coyotes will replace them and female coyotes will have larger litters. Coyotes are found in every single county in Florida. And the largest coyote pack is located in the City of Chicago. Coyotes have lived in our area for years without any issues.
Coyotes are considered nuisance animals that very rarely pose a danger to humans. Much like alligators, people with coyotes in their area should just be aware of their presence. There have been no known coyote attacks on humans in our area and, as we learned by talking to FWC, coyote attacks on humans are exceedingly rare. As long as people are not intentionally or unintentionally feeding them, coyotes are fearful of humans and will run away if a human challenges them or comes near them.
Below are some links with very useful information pertaining to coyotes. If you come across a coyote that is behaving strangely or aggressively you can call FWC at (888) 404-3922. If it is an immediate emergency, you can call 911.
- FWC page on living with coyotes
- U.S. Humane Society Coyote Page
- FWC General information about coyotes page
- Urban coyote research in Chicago
- The Urban Coyote Initiative website, several great articles here including one on dog safety
QUESTIONS? Email Deputy City Manager Kevin Hogencamp.