I am not sure how typical my area is to other parts of the country ( South bay, Los Angeles) but it looks like the urban coyote is here to stay. Feral cats are almost non-existent since they are the chief prey of coyotes, Urban raccoons, possums, skunks and fox populations have been drastically reduced. Rats seem to be the only thing that has benefitted from them. Rat poisons that actually work are illegal here. I am wondering if it would be feasible to start breeding owls and keep them similar to the way we keep cats where they can come and go as they please. Establish nesting boxes and supplementing their diets if necessary, basically creating a semi domestic version of an owl. If left to their own devices they might keep a population somewhat in check but it would still go in cycles with the owls eventually loosing out and moving on. We need a solution for the rats! Or maybe some kind of weasel? I think Europe has something called a stone martin that lives in city limits. I would imagine they feed on rats.
I have seen domestic cats studiously ignore rats (can’t necessarily blame them when the rats are the size of a medium cat), but maybe some of them are killers—it’s unpredictable. But aren’t there natural predators like hawks in DC? You could also see if certain dogs like terriers react to them. I would not introduce random new species of wild animals that are not already there; in fact I’m sure it’s 100% illegal for a good reason.
The Owls are Not What They Seem.
My chihuahua used to kill rats but has gotten old, now he just ignores them as they eat out of his dish.
I don’t think owls are well suited for urban or even a lot of suburban environments. Even if you’re able to establish a population, I doubt owls would make a noticeable dent in the rat numbers.
There are a ton of videos of terriers (dogs) laying waste to rats that scurry out of overturned trash piles, chicken houses, etc. I won’t link to any but they’re easy to find. There are also mink/weasel & dog teams that are very good at ratting. The mustelid chases the rat out the back door of the den and the dog takes care of the rest.
Lastly, some people hunt rats in barns and at farms with night vision hardware and pellet rifles. Again, no links but easy to find footage. I probably would avoid shooting in a populated area, though.
Suburban Toronto here. The entire metropolitan area is awash in coyotes. I see them constantly, and they’re becoming daylight animals. Signs warning people to beware coyotes at dawn and dusk are being put up in parks.
A few days ago a dead adult deer was found mauled to death by coyotes right along a nearby thoroughfare; I saw it with my own eyes. The goddamn things are out of control. We still have skunks, but I see fewer raccoons around than I used to, and I haven’t seen a fox in awhile.
I live in the same area as the OP. The owls are already here. I’ve been hearing and seeing Great Horned owls on the utility pole in my backyard for about a decade. I have also seen them hanging out in the trees in Rocketship and El Retiro Parks. (southern part of Torrance).
My cat is a gopher slaughtering machine, but I think her presence is enough to keep the rats away. Or maybe she consumes the rats in their entirety so I never see them, but she always leaves gopher parts behind. But she can’t do anything at night, as I bring her inside a few hours before sunset because of the coyotes.
I live in the same area and I have noticed an increase in owl activity in the last few years. I hope it continues. I wonder if nesting boxes would encourage their expansion. They seem to be expanding from PV, I would guess.
How about snakes? Our barn is a great environment for rats. Spilled grain to eat, hay to nest in, etc. But we rarely see a rat or mouse. What we do see are many Central Rat Snakes, some of which are obese.
We rarely hear an owl and I’ve only seen one. Red tailed hawks, Cooper’s hawks, Sharp shinned hawks, and turkey vultures we see all the time.
I’m kind of surprised that the coyotes aren’t eating the rats. Are you sure that they’re not?
I agree with you on snakes, I do know some species of rat snakes are pretty comfortable in urban settings as long as the people population has a mutual respect for them. Maybe we need an education on snakes program so people don’t chop them up on sight. Snakes are also good climbers and could work out in the garages and sheds.
Here in the Chicago area, in the 33 years that I’ve lived here, we’ve gone from no coyotes (or virtually none) to them being quite common.
I’m in the suburbs, so if we have rats, they’re rare enough to not be a visible issue, at least not in the residential areas (I know that they’re a big problem in the city itself). We do have plenty of other mammals roaming around – raccoons, possums, and skunks – who get into garbage, and who may well be targets for the coyotes (wandering cats and small dogs likely wind up being preyed on by the coyotes, as well).
We also have a fair number of white-tailed deer, as we have several big forest preserves in our area.
Owls don’t seem to be common, though I did hear, and then see, a great horned owl in a tree outside of my sister-in-law’s house on Christmas Eve.
I agree. No cite available, but I’ve read somewhere that venomous snake bites occur more often to people trying to kill a snake than “surprise bite”. Snakes bite defensively more commonly than offensively.
Another good thing about snakes is that they don’t need to eat every day and could go a while without food if necessary. It might not be that hard to get a stable population going with cooperation from humans.
Although certainly a coyote will take a cat, they are by no means the chief prey of coyotes. Just don;t let your cats outside, especially at nite.
The rat poisons that are banned are the ones that kill downline also, killing cats, dogs, coyotes, bobcats, and birds of prey. They should have banned them a long time ago.
Rats? Not mice? I am in the same area, and my neighbor complained about rats when he meant mice. Either can be controlled by snap traps, or live traps. I have not seen any rats, but many mice. They do not come into the house though, since I have cats.(rescued ferals, so yeah, they know how to hunt and kill. I guess a mouse or two might have made it in, but their life was measured in milliseconds, and the evidence was consumed). I occasionally have mice in the garage, but a couple snap traps do them in, quickly and more or less humanely.
My ravens like to eat the mice.
They certainly will, given a chance.
As a volunteer ranger, I can concur- except the young ones, who sun on the trails, and bite when stepped on. (they look a lot like a branch). Rattlesnakes should be relocated out of the suburbs (they bite a lot of dogs). But the other snakes should be encouraged. Red racers, gopher snakes, etc.
I’m on the north side of that big bay, and we still have a ton of raccoons and possums. Lots of coyotes, too, of course.
Not so many now, since my asshole neighbor traps and “relocates” (i.e. kills) them .
Cats, possums, skunks, and raccoons.
Coyotes would rather a small dog. Fewer weapons. I saw a coyote grab a cat and let it go when teeth and claws come out.
Im intrigued. Elaborate.
I would pay to hunt rats with night vision goggles and pellet guns. Of course would want to wear PPE like a Ghostbusters suit while doing so.