No matter how heavily populated with people that Desert Ridge may be today and will become with continued development in the near future, it doesn’t always deter some wild animals from sharing the space with us that have been displaced from their dwindling habitat. Coyotes, bobcats and javelinas seem particularly willing to venture into our community, and if left to roam freely, can cause damage such as tearing through garbage, become aggressive towards people and even attack and kill pets. While we don’t want to harm the wildlife that is indigenous to the natural desert habitat surrounding and within Desert Ridge, we do need to make our community as inhospitable to them as possible.
The Arizona Game & Fish Department has some tips on how to do just that:
Make sure your children (and you!) do not feed or try to play with coyotes or any of the wildlife in Desert Ridge. While they might look like a rugged version of Rover, coyotes are wild animals that can become aggressive and even bite. Though they are normally timid toward people, coyotes’ natural fear is lessened and they are encouraged to stay in the area if you feed and try to play with them.
- Block off pet food, birdseed, fruits and vegetables from gardens, garbage and composts so the wildlife is not attracted to food sources and can’t access them.
- Block or remove all openings to areas that might make a good den for the wildlife, such as bushes and shrubs and under decks or woodpiles.
- Keep a close eye on your pets. To ensure your household pets will be safe, be sure to keep indoors at all times. Always supervise your dog when outside, particularly at dawn or dusk, when our desert wildlife is most active.
- If you are out with your dog and see a coyote, pick up your dog if possible and leave immediately.
- Do not let your dog play with coyotes–they are territorial animals and may turn on your dog if they feel threatened.
- If you have to leave your dog unattended outside, make sure he is kept in an enclosed kennel.
- If you run into a coyote while you’re outside, be aggressive: Act big, yell, flail, and even throw small objects to let the coyote know it is unwelcome in this area. Do not turn your back on the coyote or run, as this will only encourage him to be aggressive towards you.
- If you are bitten by a coyote, make sure you get rabies shots and also call animal control. A coyote that has attacked a human needs to be put down, and animal control can make sure that’s done without putting you and other in our community further in jeopardy.
- Contact the Arizona Game & Fish Radio Dispatch in the event of an emergency after business hours and weekends at 623.236.7201.
While it might feel a bit unnerving to be living so close to coyotes, bobcats, javelinas and other desert wildlife if we take these precautions, it will be easier to co-exist peacefully with coyotes. To learn more about Living With Wildlife, please be sure to visit the Arizona Game & Fish website at www.azgfd.com/wildlife/livingwith/coyotes/.