MOUNT VERNON — Think of coyotes and you probably picture a desert mesa silhouetted against a full moon, with the animal’s distinctive “yip, yip, howl” cutting through the darkness. Or maybe you think of a cartoon character who’s latest attempt to catch dinner using a gadget from ACME fails utterly.
It’s probably not a picture of a wild canine slipping almost unseen through a city neighborhood, stealing trash from unsecured containers and dog or cat food from residents’ back porches.
But they’re doing that, in Mount Vernon and other places. They’re found in all 88 counties in Ohio and the population is considered “stable or increasing.” Coyotes are similar in appearance to a medium-sized dog and have a distinctive bushy tail, usually tipped with black. Most are gray, but some have some rusty, brown or off-white coloration.
They’re generally not a threat to people, said Knox County Wildlife Officer Mike Miller, but you might want to keep an eye on small pets. Coyotes have been known to kill house cats and small dogs. Miller said he’s never had a report of one attacking children.