Our opinion: That howl you hear | Editorial

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Coyotes are known to attack people on rare occasions.

In March, four people were bitten when coyotes or large foxes attacked them in the Brandt Lake area. A man was bitten while walking the Nat Greene Trail by an animal which cautiously passed him, then turned and attacked.

In two cases in 2018, a 7-year-old girl and her father were attacked by a coyote in Mocksville, as well as a 9-year-old girl in Advance.

But these attacks were quirks. It is much more common for coyotes to flee from people. “The normal behavior of the coyote is to be curious, but wary, when it is near humans,” reports the Wildlife Commission.

The best thing to do if you are approached by a coyote is to make a lot of noise, the commission advises. Scream, click, clap your hands. This might frighten them.

Despite their wild nature, their presence has certain advantages.

“Coyotes are great neighbors,” Aspen Stevanovski, a local coyote researcher, told the Winston-Salem Journal. “They are incredible rodent control and help salvage carcasses (like deer that kill roads) to keep the environment clean. They sometimes eat seeds, and when they eject the seeds through the droppings, they help disperse the seeds. Since coyotes feed on animals that adversely affect songbird populations, there are strong associations between healthy songbird populations and healthy coyote populations. Raptor populations tend to be healthy in areas where coyotes live due to this higher population of songbirds. “


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