There are coyotes throughout Michigan, in rural, suburban and urban areas. Coyotes have lived around Loch Alpine for decades, in the woodlands to the south and east of our neighborhood. Usually they have stayed within the cover and safety of the woods and fields, avoiding the human settlements nearby. Over the past several weeks, however, residents have seen coyotes in Loch Alpine during the day, traveling alone and sometimes in pairs. The animals have been seen on the golf course and in backyards east and west of Northgate Drive, behind Canterbury and north of Fairway Drive, and off Whitman Circle, Climbing Way and West Loch Alpine Drive. They have also been spotted crossing Eastgate toward the golf course and Crestline.
We can only suppose that as the golf course has grown thick with tall grass, it has attracted more wildlife, including coyotes looking for prey. Coyotes’ diet typically consists of small mammals, insects, reptiles, fruit and carrion. A recent study showed that on average a coyote's diet is 78% rodents, 26% berries, 27% rabbits, 12% raccoons, 10% deer and less than 2% of human food scraps. This shows that coyotes are NOT dragging off small children, dogs and cats. In fact, they help keep rodents and other wildlife in check.
A few good information sources about coyotes can be found at
What is recommended about coexisting with coyotes?
- Don’t feed pets outside. Left over pet food or the smell of pet food will attract coyotes and many other wildlife like skunks and raccoons.
- Do not over feed birds, and keep the ground under feeders cleaned up. Bird seed attracts small animals like rodents which in turn attract the coyotes. Also bird seed is a large attraction for skunks.
- Keep garbage in tight fitting containers. Coyotes and all other wildlife love human garbage.
- Coyotes love compost and wood piles. Enclose or remove compost and wood piles in your yard.
- Keep your pets from running at large and make sure they are spayed or neutered and up to date on shots. Not only is this a law, but female dogs not spayed will attract coyotes.
- Make loud, unwelcoming noises when coyotes are seen.
Hunting, poisoning or trapping coyotes in Loch Alpine would be dangerous because of the proximity to so many houses and the risk of harming people, pets and other wildlife that wander the golf course. We have asked the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for more information to share with residents, and we also are investigating animal trapping services that use live traps to remove coyotes (although they may be euthanized instead of relocated).