Seacrest Wolf Preserve believes in preserving America's Wild Heritage- the enormous diversity of wildlife sharing our landscape. In an effort to increase our local impact, Seacrest Wolf Preserve is committed to educating our community about our native wildlife. This initiative includes providing off-site programs to discuss the importance of coexistence with local wildlife. As humans continue to invade natural habitats, it is crucial we work towards peaceful existence with all of the species that call it home. We believe education is key to creating positive attitudes and tolerance towards wildlife.
Coyotes are a canine species native to North and Central America. Coyotes can be anywhere from a dark brown to a yellowish-gray with white on their underside, and weigh anywhere from 15-50 lbs on average. However, much like wolves, coyotes tend to be larger the further north you go. They tend to have large ears for the size of their head and small paws. Although they are classified as carnivores, coyotes actually have omnivorous diets that include a wide variety of small animals and plants. They are essentially opportunistic, feeding on whatever food sources are abundant and easily consumed, as well as scavengers, eating animals killed by vehicles or other larger predators. Like wolves, coyotes communicate through a variety of methods including scent, body language and vocalization. While coyotes do not form highly organized packs like wolves, they do form family units of closely related individuals. Coyotes will mate for life. Coyotes that live outside of packs will either stay or float between resident coyote families.
Coexisting with coyotes
Coyotes, along with other wild carnivores, have been persecuted and killed for over a century in America. Most people view coyotes as dangerous and a threat to humans and domestic animals, rather than as an important part of their ecosystem. Coyotes are victim to horrific killing contests, trophy hunting and trapping, all of which are taking a massive toll on America's carnivores. “Wildlife Management programs” result in the killing of millions of animals, such as coyotes, by the U.S government each year. These methods are not only inhumane, but they do not provide long-lasting solutions.
It is essential we learn to coexist with coyotes and all local wildlife. Some ways you can be proactive in coexisting with local coyotes are:
Never feed coyotes - When people feed wild animals, they become habituated to or loose their natural fear of humans.
Fences around your yard - Coyotes can jump about 6 feet, so to keep them out of your yard, you will need to put up a fence that is at least that high.
Keep your yard tidy - Since coyotes are opportunists, do not leave garbage, pet food or bird seed out (spilled bird seed spilled out of a bird feeders can attract rodents, which coyotes prey on).
Coexisting with Raccoons
Although raccoons or "trash pandas" are adored on the internet, 90% of adult raccoon death is due to hunting/trapping or vehicular traffic. Raccoons are killed in heinous ways for their fur, suffering for hours or days in traps before being murdered. Raccoons are also raised on “fur farms”, often in horrific conditions.
It is essential we learn to coexist with raccoons and all local wildlife. Some ways you can be proactive in coexisting with local raccoons are:
Never feed raccoons - When people feed wild animals, they become habituated to or lose their natural fear of humans.
Drive carefully at night - Raccoons are killed by traffic, so be sure to drive the speed limit and be aware of any wildlife on roadsides preparing to cross.
Boycott Fur - Many designers and whole cities have banned fur since recent horrors of trapping have come to light. Join the movement and demand the ethical treatment of America's wildlife!
Raccoons are nocturnal mammals native to North America. Raccoons are most well-known for the dark mask around their eyes, giving them a reputation as bandits. They are one of the most variably sized mammals, ranging from 10-60 lbs, but are usually less than 30 lbs. These omnivores thrive in almost any environment and are known for their intelligence. Interestingly, raccoons have some of the most dexterous hands in the animal kingdom and compared with most mammals, raccoons have four to five times more sensory cells in their paws. 75% of the part of their brain that processes sensory signals is devoted to touch. They can get an image of what an object is without looking at it, so in essence, raccoons actually “see” with their hands. Raccoons are also excellent swimmers and climbers.
A fox is an omnivorous canid. There are around 27 species of fox, the most common being the Red Fox. At Seacrest we currently have Gray Foxes, a Melanistic Fox, and a mix (arctic-red).
Gray Foxes are native to North and South America and are easily identified by their grizzled upper parts and distinct black stripe down its tail. They typically weight about 8 to 15.5 lbs. In contrast to other species of foxes, gray foxes have oval pupils. It is the only American canid that can climb trees.
A melanistic fox (also known as a silver fox) is simply a genetic variant of a red fox. Red foxes, including the silver form, are one of the most widely distributed carnivorous species in the world. Silver foxes mostly occur in the northwestern part of North America and Asia. In the wild, silver foxes do not exclusively reproduce with other silver foxes and can be litter-mates with the common red variety. Unfortunately, silver fox pelts are among the most valued furs.
Arctic Foxes are incredibly hardy, able to withstand temperatures as low as –58°F . They can be anywhere from 8.5-17 lbs. In the winter, they have beautiful white coats, which turn to brown or gray during the summer. This allows the arctic fox to be a master of camouflage all year round.
Human conflict with foxes
Foxes of all types are at risk from habitat loss, inhumane trapping and hunting practices, and vehicle deaths. Fox fur is a prize for trappers and foxes will be caught in traps or snares for days slowly being strangled or starved to death. Please speak take action against trapping. Additionally, people keep foxes as pets, without proper education or licensing. Wildlife should never be kept as pets.
With the exception of Asian stink badgers, all species of skunks are found in North and South America. Skunks are probably most well known for their highly effective pungent defensive tactic and can average 11-18 lbs. In captivity, they can live as old as 10 years, however their poor eye-sight causes them to die by 2 years old (pest control methods, vehicles, etc). Skunks are omnivorous; they are opportunistic foragers and scavengers. Their long claws help them dig. Skunks lead solitary lives when it is not breeding season.