Urban wildlife is part of everyday life in Preston Hollow neighborhoods – especially now that HOAs have email lists and social media sites to alert neighbors every time a coyote is roaming the streets. And, it creates even more of a buzz when someone captures an eery photo of one.

It would seem that coyote sightings have increased, but wildlife rehabilitator Bonnie Bradshaw says that in her six years working with 911 Wildlife, she has had a steady flow of calls – at least one a day, citywide. Usually, it’s just a confused resident who didn’t expect to see a coyote on their drive home.

About two weeks ago, Mike Mayberry of Sparkman Club Estates reported his cat’s death, believed to be the work of a coyote. Mayberry wanted his friends to protect their own pets, so he asked for an informational meeting with council member Ann Margolin and Bradshaw.

Incidents like this are not uncommon to the area, but with the recent addition of all the neighborhood e-mails, it’s easier to inform people of a nearby coyote or a missing cat. While coyotes have caused problems and pet deaths for some, others welcome and stare in awe at the urban wildlife. Also to our benefit, coyotes are the main form of neighborhood rat control, Bradshaw says. She offered a few tips for managing our furry predators.

“Urban coyotes show themselves in broad daylight,” Bradshaw says. “In a rural areas coyotes would get shot, but in the city if they show themselves in the middle of the day, nothing happens to them.”

If you want a coyote to run away, shout at it or throw rocks near it. Make some kind of threatening gesture, and they won’t stick around. However, coyotes aren’t really a threat to people, unless you try to feed them – in which case you’re just asking for trouble. Cats and very small dogs need to be watched closely by owners, but mostly the coyotes are looking for mice, rats or squirrels.

For more information on how to deal with coyotes and other wild critters, visit 911wildlife.com.

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