Fed coyotes dangerous to Airmen

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Victoria Sneed
  • 99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Coyotes may look like a smaller, slimmer version of a German Shepard but they can be a health and safety hazard if they become too familiar with people.

"Six years ago there was no coyote problem on Nellis Air Force Base," said Master Sgt. Joshua Shepherd, 57th Wing safety NCO.

The base is a safe area for the wild animals and not all are as cute as they seem.

"There is water, rabbits, easy access to food, shelter and no hunters," said Joe Bennett, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service district supervisor. "Nellis AFB is an oasis for them."

There are steps for those who live and work on base can do to keep wild animals at a safe distance.

"If you see a coyote, make a loud noise," said Bennett. "Bang things together, clap your hands or yell."

Along with posing a hazard to base residents and workers, they can pose a hazard to operations.

"We don't want a pilot to abort a landing or worse because a coyote is on the runway," said Shepherd.

The first two weeks of April are prime time to encounter a coyote.

"They will start making dens and having pups at the beginning of April," said Bennett. "They become more aggressive when they have babies to protect."

The best way to keep them away from a home and people is to make sure they don't have hospitable conditions.

"Water sources need to be out of their reach," said Bennett. "Feed and water pets inside where coyotes can't get to either."

Food isn't the only things coyote look for when planning to build a home.

"Keeping yards cleaned up gives coyotes less places to hide or make a den," said Bennett. "Trim tall grassy areas and watch for dug-out areas around the base of buildings, brush areas and berms."

Even if a family doesn't own a pet, wild animals can pose a problem if allowed to gain access to food, water and shelter.

"A family that feeds a coyote may not have pets, but their neighbor might," said Shepherd. "Airmen should ensure small pets aren't left unattended. We have already found a few pet collars around the base."

Even if there are no pets to prey on, a coyote is a hazard to Airmen who may encounter them.

"Feeding a coyote lessens their fear of people," said Bennett. "That lack of fear is one step closer to a bite incident."

For more information or to report a coyote near base housing or work center call 99th Civil Engineer Squadron pest control at 702-652-5613.