A coyote uses the wildlife crossing to cross Northeast Novelty Hill Road on Redmond Ridge about two years ago. Reporter file photo, courtesy of King County

A coyote uses the wildlife crossing to cross Northeast Novelty Hill Road on Redmond Ridge about two years ago. Reporter file photo, courtesy of King County

State officials: Don’t feed the coyotes

Spring is on the way, and with it local urban wildlife sightings could increase, including spottings of animal neighbors like coyotes, raccoons and even the occasional bear.

While Redmond and other Eastside cities are booming, they’re not far removed from the lush woodlands of the Pacific Northwest.

Consequently, it’s not uncommon to see wildlife within city limits, said Sgt. Kim Chandler, with the Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“Coyotes are everywhere, every municipality I think in the United States has the darn things,” Chandler said.

The Reporter has received reports of coyote sightings in the Education Hill neighborhood in recent weeks.

With mating season approaching, Chandler said there might be a corresponding uptick in sightings.

“They’re just here, no more than others, it just happens to be — well — you get a couple of nice days and folks are out and about more,” he said of sightings.

Smaller wildlife, like raccoons and coyotes, are generally not a threat to humans, even children.

However, they can pose a serious threat to pets such as small dogs and cats, as well as stock animals like sheep and goats.

“You have to take precautions,” Chandler said.

Leaving pets inside or keeping an eye on them in yards should reduce the risk of attacks by wild animals.

Even in more rural parts of the county, good practices to keep farm animals like sheep safe include stringing up an electric fence and bringing the animals into shelter overnight.

Generally, coyotes are skittish around humans.

In the 40 years Chandler has worked in King County, he’s only seen a couple instances of a human being bitten by a coyote.

“It does happen, it absolutely does happen, but those instances are so rare,” he said.

People are much more likely to be attacked by a pet dog than a wild animal, said Chandler.

Which is not to say people should cozy up to wildlife.

Garbage should be kept locked up and people should never feed wild animals.

In fact, feeding a bear is a criminal offense, but it is not illegal to feed coyotes. That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea, though.

“That is not acceptable, it’s not acceptable to feed any wildlife other than tweety birds,” Chandler said. “Absolutely do not put stuff out for raccoons, possums, bears, coyotes, any of that, because that encourages them and makes them become more dependent.”

Fear of humans is natural to coyotes, but feeding them erodes this.

Unless coyotes or other wildlife are a threat to humans, state officials won’t trap or kill them, but Chandler said it’s important for people to use good etiquette.

“It just takes one guy on the end of the block to screw it up for everyone else when they’re not picking all their stuff up,” he said.

There are also bears in the county, with some 700 sightings being reported in 2017.

Almost all of these were related to garbage being left out or not having bear-proof garbage cans, Chandler said.

At the end of the day, residents should keep an eye out for urban wildlife, but shouldn’t bother them.

“Be aware, just be a little more vigilant,” he said. “Again, they don’t really go after people, you may hear them howling and carrying on, that’s just what they do.”

Neighboring cities have had run-ins with coyotes too.

In 2016, a large coyote was killed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services in Kirkland after it had taken pets from yards and displayed “an unusual fearlessness toward people” for two months.

“The challenge of living with wildlife in urban area is that it takes consistent action on the part of the whole community to discourage aggressive wildlife,” a spokesperson for the agency said in a 2016 article in the Kirkland Reporter. “If one neighbor takes steps to avoid coyotes, but then another intentionally or unintentionally feeds them, efforts to minimize coyote confrontations won’t work.”

In short, don’t feed the neighborhood coyote, no matter how cute it might be.

More in News

Southbound traffic backs up as northbound drivers cruise on with ease on the Highway 99 viaduct on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
WSDOT hopes ‘Viadoom’ habits continue

The department credits commuters with adapting to the closure and mitigating impacts.

President’s emergency declaration sparks immediate legal backlash

Attorney General Bob Ferguson said his team will sue the White House if federal funds originally intended for Washington state are interrupted.

Bill targets sexual health curriculum in Washington schools

Senate Bill 5395 is co-sponsored by 17 Democratic representatives and introduced by Sen. Claire Wilson, D-Federal Way.

According to King County’s Mental Illness and Drug Dependency (MIDD) annual report, Seattle had the highest rate of people using services at 36 percent of the total, followed by 31 percent from South King County, 18 percent from the greater Eastside, and 7 percent from north county including Shoreline.
Study shows King County’s treatment funding is making progress

A document on the county’s .1 percent health sales tax was accepted Wednesday by the county council.

Children’s play area at Seadrunar. Photo by Lauren Davis via Facebook
Seedy side of Seadrunar: Drug rehab center accused of neglect, exploitation

Public records reveal that Seattle facility was accused of neglecting children and clients in its care.

Representative Suzane DelBene and Redmond resident, Yasmin Ali attended the State of the Union last week. Photo courtesy of Suzane DelBene Twitter.
Redmond’s Ali attends State of the Union with Rep. DelBene

DelBene invited Ali as her State of the Union guest.

New Friends of Youth CEO, Paul Lwali, will replace Terry Pottmeyer. Courtesy photo.
Friends of Youth hires new CEO

Pottmeyer steps down; Lwali becomes new Friends of Youth CEO.

Russell Wilson and Ciara spoke Friday at the Tukwila Library to Foster students and other attendees as their Why Not You Foundation joined forces with the King County Library System and JPMorgan Chase to launch the DREAM BIG: Anything is Possible campaign. Photo by Kayse Angel
Russell Wilson and Ciara launch DREAM BIG campaign

Partnership with King County libraries dovetails with scholarship program for local students.

Most Read