What are coyotes?
Coyotes are members of the Canidae family and share some of the same traits as other members of the Canidae family, dogs, foxes, wolves and jackals. They have narrow, elongated snouts, lean bodies covered with thick fur, yellow or amber eyes, long bushy black-tipped tails, and pointed ears. Their fur varies in color, from brown to gray. The fur on their belly is usually white. Coyotes are as big as a medium sized dog but smaller than a wolf. They typically weigh 20 to 50 lbs. Coyotes are native to North America.

What types of coyotes are there?
There are 19 subspecies of coyotes.

Characteristics of Coyotes

  • Coyotes are generally nocturnal and seldom seen during the day.
  • It is natural behavior for a coyote to see a human and run the other direction. 
  • If a coyote doesn't run away when it sees a human, the animal has most likely become habituated to people. This means they will usually approach the human for food.
  • Attacks on humans are rare.

Helpful Tips For Dealing with Coyotes
The below tips were taken from the Virginia Highlands Civic Association. Read more about Living with Coyotes in an Urban Environment on their website.

  • Specifically, do not feed coyotes.
  • Don't feed pets outside. if you feel you must, remove their dishes promptly.
  • Don't let pets roam outside in unfenced areas. Just as other smaller species are vulnerable to pets, pets are vulnerable to others.
  • Fences may not be perfect solutions - but proper fences are a deterrent.
  • Call Animal Control to promptly remove road kill and carcasses.
  • Distinguish between 'problem' coyotes - those that boldly intrude into human spaces - and the huge majority of occasional and seldom-seen coyotes who keep to themselves.

It is important to remember, the presence of pet food, fruit from fruit trees, small animals, compost or trash can lure coyotes into yards and create the impression that these places are feeding areas. Without the lure of food or other attractants, their visits will be brief and rare.



The following is a direct response from Linda Potter, Assistant Director of AWARE regarding foxes spotted throughout the City of Avondale Estates. Potter provides an excellent explanation of who foxes are, their characteristics and how to coexist.

"There are foxes in every neighborhood in Georgia. They typically pose no threat to people. In fact, the foxes that are in your neighborhood probably live their year round.They are usually out at night, however, you are more likely to see them during the day during the spring as they are out getting food for their pups. Seeing them during the day does not indicate that they are ill.

Foxes weigh about 20 pounds and have a natural fear of people. If they knew that you were close by, they would flee. All you have to do is step out of your door and clap your hands or yell at them and they will take off. They are very curious animals and if they are 20 feet or more away from you, they may just watch you to see what you are doing. If you begin to approach them, they will take off. They will not attack children, unless the children are trying to play with the foxes and their pups.

Their natural prey are mice, rats, snakes, voles, moles, rabbits squirrels, chipmunks, and other small mammals. Without foxes we would have an overabundance of rodents and snakes. By the way, bird feeders attract mike, rats, chipmunks, squirrels, etc. which then attract foxes.

Foxes like to live in the border areas between forests and meadows. This provides them with cover in the forest and food in the meadow area in the form of small mammals.

Since foxes only weigh 20 pounds, they don't usually attack cats, but the only way to truly protect a cat is to keep it indoors. When cats are allowed to roam free they kill wildlife and they themselves are susceptible to being injured or killed.

Municipalities no longer provide trapping services, because when you trap and remove these territorial animals the neighboring foxes just move in. The other thing that happens is that there is more food for the surrounding foxes in the area. This causes them to over breed and you basically wind up with at least the same number of foxes and sometimes more foxes than you started out with.

Trappers are required by law to euthanize foxes after trapping them. Biologists have found the best way to deal with foxes is to remove all the food sources in your neighborhood. This includes covering trash cans and not feeding pets outside. One way to maintain their natural fear of people is to scare them. You can do this by clapping your hands, shouting at them, putting pennies in a soda can and shaking it, and throwing tennis balls or small stones toward them (but not at them).

All in all, this is a good opportunity to appreciate wildlife from a distance and safely coexist rather than to be scared of them."


Lake Avondale is nestled in the serene neighborhood of Avondale Estates. It is home to the City's annual Easter Egg Hunt and Dog Parade, Fishing Derby, the annual 4th of July fireworks celebration, countless weddings, parties and more! It is also home to various wildlife. One of those animals being snakes. During the breeding season which is in the spring and the fall, snakes can be seen on the banks and around the edges of the Lake along with, in backyards, in wooded areas and in gardens.

What are snakes?
Georgia Wildlife's website defines snakes as, "reptiles characterized by elongated bodies and a lack of limbs. Snakes are closely related to lizards, but do not have external ears or eyelids. The skin of snakes is dry and scaly. Snakes have a forked tongue used to 'sample' microscopic particles from the air. The particles are transferred to the Jacobson's organ to taste the air to figure out its surroundings. Snakes are 'cold-blooded' meaning they rely on their surroundings for body heat. As a result, snakes cannot tolerate extreme temperatures. Therefore, when it is cold or extremely hot outside, snakes are relatively inactive."

What types of snakes are there?
There are two kinds of snakes, nonvenomous and venomous snakes.

Nonvenomous Snakes and Venomous Snakes
The snakes living around Lake Avondale are nonvenomous snakes. See a full list of nonvenomous snakes on the following websites:

Georgia Wildlife Website
Snakesareus Website

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division has a document titled, Snakes of Georgia Fact Sheet. This PDF provides helpful information about nonvenomous snakes along with venomous snakes and information about living with snakes.

Helpful Tips When Seeing Snakes
These tips were provided by the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory
  • Remain calm if you see a snake
  • Clear debris and wood from your yard
  • Keep dogs on leashes and cats indoors
  • Do not try to remove a snake
  • Teach children venomous snake identification
  • Educate yourself
Read more about these tips on the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory website.
Read more about Wildlife and Natural Resources on the Georgia Department of Natural Resources website