Wily Coyotes

If you've learned everything you know about coyotes from "Road Runner" cartoons, you may want to join Summit County Metro Parks naturalist Pat Rydquist on one of her fall evening "Coyote Calling" night hikes.

"Around that time, the family unit disperses and it's time for the young coyotes to find their own territory," Rydquist explains. "But their parents will call to them in the hopes their young will call back."

The walks, which usually take place between 8 and 10 p.m., provide an opportunity for people to try to interact with the mysterious canines, which are quite good at staying out of sight even though the animals have been spotted in every Ohio county.

"They are very smart," Rydquist says. "Even smarter than the domestic dog."

Which leads us to the coyote's reputation for swooping in and snagging pets from the back yards of suburban homes. Rydquist says it is only owners of cats and small dogs who need worry about letting their pets roam outside at night unattended.

"It's the little dogs that are the tasty morsels for a coyote," she says. "People don't have to worry about children. Coyotes don't really want interaction with humans."

For more information, visit www.summitmetroparks.org.

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