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There be wild critters in these hills

Coyotes can be a threat to cats and small dogs.

Coyotes can be a threat to cats and small dogs.

Coyotes and foxes have been spotted in the area. These critters, perhaps Table Rock’s wildest neighbors, are looking for the chuck wagon, and they may be checking out your yard.

“Snow brings predators out of the mountains to the lower elevations to search for food,” says Robert Baker, a member of the board for the Table Rock Homeowners Association.

“The important thing is to keep them wild,” says Ken Gruver, Wildlife Services assistant state director for Washington, in a Union-Bulletin article. “Don’t try to feed them. If you see them, run them off, scream at them. Keep them wild.”

The animals rarely pose a threat to people, according to the Animal Humane Society (AHS), but they may target small dogs and cats that are left alone outdoors. Be sure to keep your pets safe so they don’t end up being snacks.

To discourage coyotes or foxes from coming around, the AHS recommends:

  • Do not feed them.
  • Keep all dog and cat food inside, especially at night.
  • Secure garbage cans with tight fitting lids; preferably keep them in a garage or enclosure so they can’t be tipped.
  • Keep compost in a fenced area or a large secure container, not open piles.
  • Clean up around bird feeders. Coyotes will find and eat bird seed on the ground.
  • Don’t let your pets free roam outdoors.  Also watch your pets while outside.
  • If you see a coyote or fox, make lots of noise and scare it away – don’t let them become habituated to people.

For more information about coyotes in Washington State, visit the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.