By William Collins for The Island Eye News
The population of coyotes has decreased in the past year, and there probably are fewer than 30 now living on the Isle of Palms, but residents still need to take precautions during the mating season and after the young are born.
The coyotes likely have moved across the Intracoastal Waterway to Hamlin Sound due to the migration of available prey, especially now that the temperatures are lower.
However, they still can be found on the waterway and in the dunes during the morning hours.
That being said, it’s necessary to keep pets on a leash on beach accesses. Coyotes go after what they can easily take, so keeping your dogs close to you will prevent them from being targeted by coyotes.
The breeding season for coyotes usually is between February and March, with young being born in April.
Their numbers increase during this time, and it’s common to see them hunt during the day.
Coyotes have been observed to be more aggressive during these months because they are protecting their young. Make sure to keep pets inside; outdoor pets usually are easy targets. Any food items left outside can also attract coyotes, if the raccoons don’t get there first.
William Collins is the Isle of Palms animal control officer.