When you hear the word coyote you probably think of prairies and deserts. But guess what? Did you know that coyotes are now living with us here on Long Island? There are now at least fifteen coyotes living on Long Island, ten of which are our neighbors in the Manhasset and Port Washington area. The birth of four new pops in Nassau County this month marks a significant milestone for the coyote population in our area. Long Island is one of the last areas to have coyotes join their habitat. Until very recently, we were coyote free.
You would think coyotes live in rural areas, but in truth they like to live in urban areas near people. They came to Long Island from the Bronx either by walking to Queens or by swimming. As their population grew, they were forced to explore new territory which is why they came to live near us. No need to worry since coyotes are afraid of people, but don’t get too close and never feed them. We do however have to worry about them going after our pets so bearing in mind their existence when letting family pets outside may be warranted.
Although wildlife experts say people and coyotes can coexist, we do need to take proper precautions to avoid any type of problems. If you see a coyote and you make a loud noise they will typically run away. Dogs and coyotes are members of the same canid family. From a distance, a coyote could look like a large dog. You can spot a coyote by its tail that hangs straight down unlike a dog's tail. A coyote’s tail also never wags.
Long Island has to get used to our newest neighbors because experts predict they are not going away anytime soon. Looking at the bright side, coyotes can actually restore the ecosystem balance by controlling the deer population and reducing the transmission of Lyme disease in our area. If you spot a coyote, please contact the department of environmental conservation and report it. As long as we are well informed and aware, all will be ok. We may end up liking our new canine neighbors!