Sunday, April 19, 2015

Coyotes, Cats and Rats

There is a notion held by many municipal animal control services that eradication of the urban coyote is not effective because such control measures provide a natural vacuum in nature that can cause these animals to have even larger litters and ultimately increases the coyote population. In my opinion this is a crock. It's a meme perpetrated by certain nature propagandists who are not looking at the big picture. Because there are no natural predators for the [urban] coyote, they will expand according to their food source. Constant action in the eradication/displacement of any one of these pests can mean that fewer pets and young children will be killed or injured. Because there is already a vacuum in nature doesn't mean we shouldn't interfere. If we let coyotes run amok they kill too many cats, resulting in a plague of rats, squirrels and rabbits running around. Cats are natural hunters of vermin. Many rescue cats don't often make good indoor pets, and most indoor cats can become schizophrenic if they are denied their natural instincts. Nature propagandists should focus more on human birth control if they are that concerned about our invasion of nature's habitat, or at the very least, initiate programs teaching coyotes taste and place aversion therapy.

One area I do agree with is that using poisons to kill rats is not a good idea. Poisoned rats harm the entire ecosystem, often killing birds of prey, domestic animals, and other wildlife.

Coyotes are predators of rats, if they can catch them! Over sized bushes and excessive foliage make a great place for rodents to hide and live. Keeping bushes and ground cover well-maintained and pruned back will help keep unwanted visitors from residing in a yard. My neighborhood has a proliferation of creeping fig vines covering property walls and fences, which can be a haven for rodents if they are too thick and dense. In addition, these vines often damage block walls, which have hollow cavities. Coyotes can't catch rats if they are safe deep inside a bush or atop of a palm tree. Cats on the other hand have superior skills for catching rodents, no matter where they hide.

Improperly stored pet food, garbage, or anything else that might smell like a great meal to a rodent will cause problems. Eliminating strong smells by placing the source in quality containers within inaccessible areas is recommended. Wrapping fruit trees with plastic netting can prevent rodents from climbing up and getting a free meal.

Rats are excellent climbers and can scale a wall very easily. They will search for entryways into attics and other places up near roofs. It is easier for them if they have tree limbs that provide direct access. Gaps and cracks around the home provide opportunities for rodents to become squatters. One should close and reduce all entry points for rodents and focus attention around heating and air conditioner vents, dryer vents, windows, plumbing, and doors.

The more clutter you have around in the yard and garage, the more likely it is that a longer time will pass before you find signs of infestation. Ultimately, judicial pruning of landscape, living in a clutter-free home and being an attentive to infestation will be the best approach to keeping unwanted critters away.