Wildlife is anything but decreasing as more and more creatures find homes in the parks, country club and lawns of Shaker Heights.
Coyotes are known to walk the streets of Shaker throughout the night, howling away. Having taken residence at the Shaker Heights Country Club golf course, they roam from South Park Road to Warrensville Center Road, according to Shaker Heights Animal Warden Steve Suder. However, any given night these coyotes can travel up to 30 miles from their den, which is why their howls have been heard all around Shaker.
Coyotes are most active in the late hours of the night and early morning. They occasionally venture out during the day. Shaker resident Antonia Reimer lives across the street from Southerly Park and witnessed a coyote cross her lawn in broad daylight. “I couldn’t recognize what it was — it looked like a small dog, tail between its legs,” she said. Reimer called animal control, and they told her that it was most likely a coyote. Animal control instructed her to check her shed to see if the coyotes were making a den there.
Coyotes are not dangerous to humans but can be harmful to animals smaller than they. Suder said there have been reports of pets being killed around Shaker due to the coyotes. “A lot of times the coyotes are not looking for any confrontation. The pet initiates it, and the coyotes will defend themselves,” Suder said.
If someone happens to come across a coyote, Suder said the best thing to do is scare them. “Coyotes are used to humans,” he said. “We need to be more aggressive.” Suder said that the best thing to do is make very loud noises.
Currently the population of deer in Ohio is at an all-time high, according to Suder. Back in October, Shaker City Council had to call a special meeting to address the problem of too many deer. The outcome was that Shaker won’t rule out some lethal measures of deer control. However, Shaker residents are not allowed to hunt them. Two approaches Shaker is not allowed to take are contraception and “trap-and-release” because both are illegal in Ohio.
“There’s no carrying capacity,” Suder said about urban areas such as Shaker Heights because there are endless amounts of food. That is why so many animals find their homes here such as raccoons, opossums and skunks. Bird feeders, grass, garbage and a variety of other urban food sources are what keep the wild animals coming back for more. “If they can have an easy buffet and free housing, why leave the area?” Suder said.
Typically, an animal’s first offensive reaction is to bite. Sustaining a bite would require rabies treatment and could produce sickness. Suder said generally, “Any wild animal: give them space.”
A version of this article appeared in print on 26 March 2013, on page 2 of The Shakerite