Coyotes in the Cape Fear: Are They a Threat?

Dec 13, 2019

Like many residents of New Hanover County, coyotes are relatively new to the Cape Fear region. They can pose a threat to sea turtle eggs and small house pets, but a study finds they rarely interact with people.

Coyotes arrived in New Hanover in the early 2000s. But as the area has developed, their habitat has been shrinking -- so, residents are seeing more of them, but these interactions still aren’t common. 

That’s according to Rachael Urbanek, Assistant Professor of Environmental Science at UNCW. She recently finished a survey asking four thousand county residents about their experiences with the animals. 

 

“Only 45 percent of the people that we surveyed had any personal interactions with coyotes. So most people aren't seeing them, kind of hearing them. Of the people that did interact with them, two-thirds were interactions of just observing them in their natural, kind of normal coyote behavior.”

 

Urbanek says while coyotes may look intimidating, attacks on humans are very rare. But small animals are at risk. She stresses pet owners need to be cautious.

 

“You're going to have to do some proactive management of fencing. Just taking your pets in at night, or if you have chickens, putting them in the coop at night.”

Those who want coyotes removed from their property can contact a Wildlife Damage Control Agent, or a licensed trapper.

Coyote quick facts and tips for coexisting with this species can be found here.