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(609) 883-2900 
2 Jake Garzio Drive
Ewing, NJ 08628

Are There Coyotes in Ewing?

Over the last several years Ewing Animal Control has experienced a rise in calls from residents with concerns of coyote and several “wolf” sightings within the Township. Many are surprised to learn we have a significant coyote population in New Jersey, let alone Ewing Township. There are no wolves left in New Jersey.

Eastern Coyote According to the New Jersey Department of Fish & Wildlife the first recorded occurrence of a coyote sighting in New Jersey was in 1939 near Lambertville, Hunterdon County. After that, recorded sightings of coyote activity became more noticeable primarily in the Northern Region of the State. As of 2019 coyotes have been recorded in all 21 counties and 400 municipalities throughout.

When discussing coyotes, it’s important to know there’s a difference between the western coyote most of us have seen on TV and the eastern coyote we are more frequently seeing in New Jersey and Ewing Township. While the western coyote is fairly consistent in size and color, each adult weighing 25 to 35-pound average with a tan, gray color. The eastern coyote also referred to at times as a “coywolf” or “coydog” may weigh excess of 50 pounds or more. Coloration may range from blonde to red to black and in various combinations. Past interbreeding between the coyote with the eastern wolf is what gives the eastern coyote at times a German Shepard look and accounts for its size and color variations.

The New Jersey Department of Fish & Wildlife currently estimates our coyote population at between 4000 to 6000 and lists the coyote as fur bearer species with seasons on trapping and hunting. The coyote is an “alpha predator” for New Jersey, meaning it’s at the top of the food chain with no known predators or enemies other than humans.  

In the wild, a coyote’s main diet consists mainly of rabbits, mice, birds, and other small mammals, also young or weakened deer, as well as carrion. In suburban neighborhoods, prey may include pet food left outside, feral cats, small dogs, and trash or unsecured garbage. Although coyotes are rarely a threat to humans, small children should never be left outside unattended. Coyotes may suffer from a range of disease including mange, distemper and are a rabies vector species and any sighted appearing sick or injured should immediately reported to the Animal Control department. Coyotes, as well as all wildlife, should never approached or attempted to handle by anyone other than a trained professional.

Coyotes play an important role in the ecosystem, helping to keep rodent populations under control. They are by nature wary of humans. However, coyote behavior changes if given access to human food and garbage. They lose caution and fear. They may cause property damage and threaten human safety, requiring euthanasia. Relocating a problem coyote is not an option because it only moves the problem to someone else's neighborhood.

Coyote Precautions

To minimize encounters with coyotes after feeding any pets outdoors, all food should be brought inside and held until collection day.  Never leave food in outside containers, this includes human and pet food.  Coyotes, as well as most wildlife, have an excellent sense of smell and can detect their next meal from a great distance even in a garbage can with a lid. Domesticated cats should never be allowed to roam free and, as previously mentioned, never leave young children or small dogs outside unattended. The occasional sighting of a coyote should remain an exciting and memorable experience.  If we all take the recommended precautions they won’t become a nuisance or a danger. Educate your neighbors.

Coyote Spottings

If you observe coyotes in the daytime that show no fear of humans or if a coyote attacks a person, immediately contact the Ewing Township police at 609-882-1313.  They will dispatch Animal Control during the normal work week or handle it themselves during the hours that the Animal Control Officer is not available.  

The Division of Fish and Wildlife is also interested in tracking coyote sightings.  Call 908-735-8793; outside of normal business hours call the DEP Hotline at 877-WARN-DEP.

Additional Resources

Coyote Reporting / Mortality Report Form

Range Expansion of the Eastern Coyote in New Jersey

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