Sunday, August 03, 2008


According to Sunday's Daily Progress, there is evidence that coyotes have been prowling the City of Charlottesville:

Recently, Charlottesville has been getting more calls of possible coyote sightings within the city limits. Bobby Durrer, the area’s animal control officer, said he’s received two calls in the last couple of weeks — one of which was from Derthick, the other from employees at Foods of All Nations on Ivy Road.

“The ones that called in, [at night] is when they’ve seen them,” Durrer said.

[Martha] Derthick said she thinks it’s possible to mistake a coyote for a fox. But Mike Fies, a wildlife research biologist for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, said coyotes are much more substantial — possibly weighing up to 45 pounds, as opposed to 12 pounds for a red fox and 8 pounds for an eastern gray fox.

Fies said coyotes first arrived in the southwestern part of Virginia in the 1970s, but they started to migrate into Virginia’s northern valley the following decade.

“They’ve been around for quite a few years,” Fies said.

Now they can be found in every part of the state, and Fies said he estimates they number around 50,000, though populations are difficult to track. Coyotes are extremely adaptable animals, Fies said, adding that he was not surprised that they might have worked their way into Charlottesville’s city limits.

“If there’s a food source, they’ll move into just about anywhere,” he said.

There is a misconception that coyotes are an animal one would only encounter in the arid West, owing primarily (though not entirely) to those wonderful Warner Bros. "Road Runner" cartoons that many of us grew up with. (Western films made in Monument Valley and other stark landscapes probably account for the rest of the incorrect knowledge.)

With this news, however, at least we'll know what might account for any sudden shortage of anvils and rockets in Charlottesville markets. Time to invest in Acme!

1 comment:

CR UVa said...

Geez, a cougar in College Park, and now coyotes in Charlottesville? What is this? Predator week in the ACC?