Grit City Carnivore Project
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is partnering with the Schell Lab at the University of Washington, Tacoma and Northwest Trek on a community science project – reporting sightings of carnivores like coyotes and raccoons in the greater Tacoma area.
We want to learn more about our local wildlife and how to live in harmony with it – and we want you to join us.
Grit City Wildlife
Lately, Tacomans have been seeing more coyotes. Some love them, some don’t. But we all share the same city. So we’re inviting you to join us in observing local carnivores. Why? To understand our native wildlife, and live in harmony with it.
To take a snapshot of our urban coyotes (and other carnivores), we’re installing a chain of cameras through Tacoma out to Northwest Trek to record wildlife in action.
Are coyotes native here?
Before 1700, coyotes were native to the Great Plains of North America. In the early 1900s they expanded east and west, and have been in the Northwest since the 1950s.
Do they attack people?
Coyotes rarely attack humans – only 3-5% of coyote-human interactions in the last decade have resulted in attacks. But they do attack pets, so keep yours on leash and inside at night.
Can they jump fences?
Yes, they are excellent jumpers! They can scale walls up to 12 feet – see this Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife page for how to deter that.
When do they hunt?
They can hunt during the day but mostly hunt and forage at dawn, dusk and night time.
What do they eat?
Coyotes are hunters and scavengers – they eat mostly natural wild foods like small animals, grass, nuts and berries. But they can eat domestic pets and human food also.
Do they have rabies?
Most coyotes do NOT have rabies, but they can carry the disease, as can raccoons, weasels and other urban carnivores. This is another reason to keep your pet away from them.
We are partnering with Northwest Trek and the Schell Lab at the University of Washington, Tacoma in this project, part of a nationwide effort to study animal numbers, diversity and movement so we can create cities where humans and animals thrive.