A Coyote in Central Park: New York City’s Surprising Wildlife

The following is a post to from Patrick Mackaronis. Patrick is the Director of Business Development for New York City-based social network Brabble. In this post, Patrick speaks about a Coyote in Central Park . Patrick can be best reached on Twitter at @patty__mack.

Trees, grasses, birds and small wildlife are common to urban parks. But in recent years, New York’s Central Park is becoming host to unexpected visitors. Coyotes are more and more frequently sighted, often mistaken for small dogs.

Coyotes’ Natural Habitat

Coyotes can live in mountains, deserts, woods, and prairies. In recent years, they are often seen in suburban areas, and sometimes even in cities. Coyotes used to live mostly in the western part of the United States. In the last century, however, they began to expand their range. Coyotes are now found in every state of the U.S., except Hawaii.

 Even so, people were surprised to see a coyote in Manhattan. That’s mostly because Manhattan is an island. To get to Manhattan, people must take a ferry, train, tunnel, or bridge to cross one of the rivers. Somehow, the coyote crossed over and found its way to Central Park.

Food for Coyotes

In the streets of a city like New York, it would seem to be hard for a coyote to find food. In the wild, coyotes eat mice, rabbits, rodents, birds, and insects. In New York, coyotes might learn to eat garbage from trash cans or leftovers from people’s lunches, but there are also plentiful small urban wildlife.

Small Wildlife In Central Park:

  • Squirrels
  • Ducks
  • Birds, such as robins and starlings
  • Mice and rats
  • Pigeons.

Coyote Traits

Coyotes look something like dogs, but they are actually part of the wild-dog family. Coyotes can run very fast (up to 40 miles per hour) and jump high (leaping 8 foot fences easily). They have an excellent sense of smell and hearing.

How to Recognize a Coyote:

  • Long thin legs
  • Large pointed ears
  • Thick tawny hair
  • Bushy tail
  • Tails hanging down (no wagging).

Coyotes in Cities and Suburbs

Although coyotes are sometimes seen in cities and suburbs near people, they are still wild animals. It can be dangerous to approach them. Residents need to learn what to do in coyote encounters. Luckily, coyotes are usually shy of humans. It’s also not a good idea for people to feed coyotes, especially since they may be hazardous to domestic pets.

Coyotes are able to thrive in many habitats and they seem to be adjusting to being near people. Cities and suburbs must find ways to deal with coyote populations. The coyote in Central Park was not allowed to stay there. After several days of running and hiding, the wily coyote was finally caught. It was taken to a wildlife center far outside the city where it was released.