August 8, 2008

When Coyotes Move in on Your Turf

Coyote sightings in Bergen County have become common enough for naturalists to decide that homeowners need to be educated about how to react if they see one in their neighborhood.

The Tenafly Nature Center will host such a lecture at 7 p.m. on Thursday.

Tony McBride, principal biologist for the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, will discuss the history and characteristics of the eastern coyote canis latrans and offer advice on how to scare off these wild animals, which rarely try to attack human beings.

Jennifer Kleinbaum, the nature center's executive director, said her staff frequently receives phone calls from Bergen County residents who are worried about a coyote sighting.

"We want people to understand how coyotes and humans can co- exist," Kleinbaum said.

"We want them to understand that coyotes are good for the environment; they are a natural part of the ecosystem.

Coyotes typically prey on rabbits, mice and other small animals. They are considered instrumental in keeping the rodent population from exploding, which also helps keep Lyme disease in check because many rodents carry the ticks that cause the illness, Kleinbaum said.

The coyote population in New Jersey has been estimated at 3,000, with sightings reported in all 21 counties.

Attacks on humans are rare, but McBride will offer tips on how to make noise and scare coyotes away from a home and its small pets.

The presentation, intended only for adults, is free for members, $5 for non-members. For more information, visit, or call 201-568-6093.

Colleen Diskin

(c) 2008 Record, The; Bergen County, N.J.. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.