Some residents have been concerned about the wildlife in the area and the threat of rabies. It is not unusual to see a coyote in North Royalton, as well as in surrounding communities. Some communities, such as Parma and Strongsville, have also reported more sightings of red and grey fox.
The coyote, is a dog-like animal, about 40-46 inches in length and weighs about 20-50 pounds. Most coyotes are gray, but some have a brown or off-white color. All have a bushy tail that usually has a black tip. It is primarily a carnivore, eating small mammals, birds, lactating livestock and deer, but also will eat nuts, berries, fruits – whatever is available. “These are timid, shy animals, as are all wild animals. They choose to live in seclusion but can easily adapt to our suburban community when life’s necessities like food, water and shelter are made available to them,” according the Animal Control Department on the city’s website.
The red fox is a small dog-like animal, rusty-red in color with white underparts, chin and throat, a prominent set of ears and a long bushy tail with a white tip. The grey fox , cousin to the red fox, is similar, but with a silver/grey fur and black tipped tail. The grey fox’s distinction, not only from the red fox, but from most members of this family, is its ability to climb trees. Both are omnivores, also eating what is available, such as fruits and vegetable, small mammals and birds.
In the 1880s, the coyote was driven out of Ohio, but it slowly returned, with the first sighting about 1919 and growing ever since.
Although there has been no uptick in sightings of coyotes and fox, it is not uncommon for the city’s Animal Control Department to get about twenty calls a year from residents who have seen them. “I usually get more calls in the fall and winter, as they are more easily seen. Overall, though, they are really good at being unseen, “ says George Stuart, North Royalton’s Animal Warden. Neither the foxes, nor the coyotes should pose a threat to humans, although residents should take care to keep an eye out where their pets are concerned. Any loud noise, such as the banging of a pot or pan, should serve to drive the animal away. Residents not only have a responsibility, under the law to confine their pets, but also a responsibility to the pet, for their safety. It is advisable to keep small dogs and cats in at night, when the wildlife would tend to roam. Although coyotes are seen all throughout the day, they are most active at dawn and dusk.
What is unusual in North Royalton is rabies, said Stuart. Although there is rabies in Pennsylvania, health and wildlife officials have kept it at bay from traveling west into Ohio. Stuart said that the coyote that was in the news recently contracted the racoon strain of rabies, which is very rare itself. He said that there have been no reported cases of rabies in North Royalton for probably more than 30 years and should be of no concern to North Royalton residents, relative to wildlife.
If a fox or coyote is spotted, keep in mind that it is wildlife that is natural to the area now. Since they follow the food source, it is advisable not to keep dog, cat and bird food outside, or in bags in open garages. Do not leave food or household rubbish where it could be accessible to the wildlife. Do not feed the wildlife and teach children not to go near the animals.

Contributing Writer