Jena Seidemann – Guest Contributor
Feb 28 2013
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Local forests behind houses such as this are the threshold between the coyotes' home and human homes, and coyotes are known to come out early in the morning and during the night to hunt. Photo by Jena Seidemann.

By Jena Seidemann, BubbleLife Intern

As Coppell continues to build houses and new businesses, the coyote is beginning to run out of area to call “home.”

Near Andy Brown Park East’s creeks and wooded areas, coyotes can be heard and seen at the break of dawn, dusk and at night. Highly adaptable, they will eat anything, including pets that roam free.

The City of Coppell has put a bulletin on its website to warn citizens to stay away from coyotes. Because coyotes have been sharing their environment with humans for so long, some believe they have become unafraid and indifferent toward humans. This could lead to the animals seeing humans, pets and yards as a food source.   

"The number one thing is to never approach a coyote or any other wildlife,” said Robert Smith, Coppell animal services manager.

In the dog family, coyotes are in between a wolf and a dog in size, but they have longer ears with a smaller nose. Colors can range from any color, but they are mostly tan. Even though they are regarded as pests, they only eat what they must to survive.

The city’s land use plan for 2030 will leave only small portions of land near Denton Tap Road, Riverchase Road and Freeport Parkway for the coyotes to roam free. According to a map of Coppell, the industrial district is larger, if not twice as large compared to the supposed remaining of the parks and open space. Coppell is a very compact city with approximately 14.4 square miles and over 14,000 housing units, according to the U.S. census.

In the city, there are no regulations for coyotes or relocation programs for them. The population is unknown, as the city’s animal services do not track them.

“Animal Services does not keep track of the coyote population,” Smith said. “[We] would monitor a coyote if we received a call from a citizen reporting that the coyote is being a threat.”

Although there are no guidelines, sick or threatening coyotes could be euthanized if necessary. Trapping them is difficult due to their keen sense of smell. At night, there have been complaints about their free roaming in the area.

“I have seen several coyotes during my employment with the City of Coppell,” Smith said. “We receive calls from citizens informing us that they heard coyotes during the night.”

Coppell residents have heard the wildlife, but they have also experienced them firsthand.  

Coppell high school sophomore Ashlyn Singer is an avid horse rider at the Stables at Cottonwood, a nearby horseback riding facility. Although the horses are in the open, it is the smaller animals that have fallen victim.  

“I have seen [coyotes] wandering around the barn, and they have eaten one of the barn cats, but as far as I know, they never bother the horses,” Singer said.

The most difficult part of the situation is being able to keep the coyotes in their area while humans continue to build more and more on what little land Coppell has left, and as the resources dwindle down, coyotes must resort to eating anything.

“Wildlife will adapt if the human population provides the necessities to support life,” said Sharon Logan, Coppell community information officer. “Learning to live with wildlife is important if not only for the continued existence of the animal, but also the continuance of a good eco-system.”

Logan also said that even though coyotes can bother people, they are more beneficial that harmful.

“We need to respect the fact that wildlife does exist and thrive in this environment,” Logan said. “Coyotes are beneficial to an urban area in respect to the fact that they help control rodent population.”