GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) - Residents in a Greenville neighborhood say they’re seeing an alarming number of coyotes near their homes and they’re especially concerned for their small pets. Neighbors along Roper Mountain Road and Roper Mountain Extension say several small pets have gone missing and they assume they’ve been taken by coyotes.
Dean Cox tells FOX Carolina, “I know people here that had five or six outdoor cats and they have none now. One by one they disappear and everyone we talk to says we saw coyotes.” Cox moved into his Roper Mountain Road area home more than 20 years ago and says in the beginning he saw deer all the time but now it’s more coyotes. He says, “We hear them in the night and we’ll wake up and they’re right outside our bedroom window and you can hear them yapping. It’s the pups. There are a lot more of them than there were years back.”
Trail cam pictures from behind his property have documented all kinds of coyote activity. Cox says last Tuesday, his daughter’s four pound dog, Marley, was let out before sunrise. Cox says he heard lots of yapping and the dog never returned. He says that pet disappearance isn’t the only incident saying, “We have another neighbor and he had killed two coyotes in his yard he was concerned about. The same day Marley went missing he let his two or three pound puppy out to go to the restroom and when he came back five minutes later that puppy was gone. So that was two of them the same day that went missing and we know there are coyotes galore all around us.”
Tom Swayngham, a Wildlife Biologist for South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, says DNR is getting more calls about coyote lately but it’s likely because of the time of year. He says, “In wintertime they tend to howl at night so that makes them more noticeable so we do get more calls this time of year.”
He says coyotes don’t seem to mind living around people as long as there’s a bit of woodland they can get into during the day.
“They’re very adaptable to be living around people unfortunately,” says Swayngham, “They’re not that dangerous. They’re not that dangerous to people other than maybe a small toddler. They will take small pets and obviously people need to keep a watch on their small pets.”
Swayngham says the best thing you can do is minimize the amount of food outside your house. That includes pet food out at night, bird feeders that spill seed onto the ground or even trash that animals can get into.
Area trappers who spoke with FOX Carolina said for people concerned about walking near wooded areas in the evenings, a loud noise like an airhorn will send coyotes running away. There are also ultrasonic devices that can be installed around property to deter coyotes and even protective coyote vests for small dogs equipped with a sort of porcupine armor.
More information about coyotes in South Carolina can be found at http://www.dnr.sc.gov/wildlife/species/coyote.html