Rats and Coyotes

I continue to get reports from neighbors of coyote sightings early in the morning along the Greenbelt and occasionally in our neighborhood (Peaceful Valley).

You may have read the AZCentral story last week about some incidents in Peoria where folks were bitten by coyotes. It doesn’t sound like there was any real intent on the part of the coyotes to attack. Rather it sounds like some folks were sleeping in lounge chairs by the pool and the coyotes were just nibbling to see if the folks had “expired.”

Still, it is another good reminder to be careful not to inadvertently encourage the coyote incursions by leaving out pet food (including feeding stray cats, which also make good coyote snacks), etc. My friend Chris Schaffner says he’s seen a coyote scale an 8-foot block wall, so your backyard isn’t necessarily a safe haven for your little dog, Fluffy. Remember, as neighbor Bill Janssen says, “We live in their domain.”

Yesterday I was talking to neighbor Luke Christy and he said he caught a rat in his backyard. Not a city-hall kind of rat (Rattus Kivas), but what was probably a Rattus Linnaeus, aka, “roof rat.

This, too, is a good reminder about what is for most of us probably a much more imminent and insidious hazard. If roof rats get in your house they can cause all kinds of trouble by chewing on wiring, etc.

The City of Scottsdale has a great roof rat information webpage. But especially make sure you don’t leave anything organic, including citrus, lying around. Citrus should also be picked promptly off the tree when ripe.

Rats will eat almost anything. Bag and tie garbage and put it in the alley bin immediately. And close the lid, which also helps prevent flies as the weather warms up. Don’t leave pet food outdoors, and remember that roof rats will eat any kind of edible seeds including grass seed and bird seed.

There are a lot more downtown activities going on these days that involve food and thus can attract rats. Obviously, the ball park is one of those activities, but there’s also been a great increase in the numbers of bars and related uses that generate edible waste.

Just like with some of our less-desirable guests who come to Downtown Scottsdale for the nightlife, the roof rats might decide they like it here and want to hang out for a while. Let’s not encourage them!

UPDATE, 29 October:

Roof rats have been seen and trapped on Old Osborn and on Chambers Ct. If you need help picking your citrus, please contact the Neighbor-to-Neighbor program, as well as following the suggestions above.

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