What constitutes mule deer habitat?

Mule deer are adaptable to different food sources and living in different environments.

If you asked mule deer biologists in the Sonoran Desert, they would tell you something completely different than someone in the panhandle of Idaho. As would someone from the Arizona strip, the Badlands of Montana/North Dakota, the Sandhills of Nebraska, or the Wasatch Front of Utah. 

These are all areas where mule deer live. They all have very different habitats. So how is it that a species which seems to be in trouble from a habitat standpoint can live in these vastly different, ecologically diverse areas?

In general, mule deer are a very adaptable species in their distribution across the west. We can find them in 18 different states, four Canadian provinces and in Mexico. The habitat they use spans seven different eco-regions

They have been documented eating hundreds of different plants and plant parts such as cactus, bark, fruit, vegetables, grasses, forbs, shrubs and trees. They can find thermal and escape cover in grasslands, sagebrush, rocks, thickets of brush and trees, and in back yards. 

As such, a mule deer’s habitat in-and-around Eagle Mountain is limited. Houses are not habitats, but yards, gardens and open space can be. Therefore, a habitat on a small and fragmented scale has been created in the city.

There are several areas where we have year-round residents who have adapted nicely to eating and living among homes and people. They seem to do well at navigating within these neighborhoods. This is a greater problem along much of the Wasatch front where you have year-round resident urban mule deer populations.

Ideally, mule deer around Eagle Mountain should migrate from the Oquirrh Mountains and Camp Williams through the city south to the Lake Mountains.

Mule deer habitats must consist of three important components: food, water and cover/shelter. 

How the food, water and cover is arranged on the landscape; what is adjacent to it; how far away are they from each other; and what condition each of the three are in are all equally important.

Arguably, the most critical component of mule deer habitat is food.

Mule deer can make it without water for a few days. Much of their water can be gleaned from the food they eat. We know that cover can be in a wide-open field if needed. What, then, constitutes mule deer food?

It has been demonstrated through studies that mule deer need, and do best with, food that is high in protein, easily digestible and readily available. Again, this varies from place to place but most of these groceries can be considered, or are found in, areas where plant communities are in an early successional stage.

In Eagle Mountain, a plethora of green groceries (grasses and forbs) that are high in nutrients, easy to digest, very accessible and perfect for what mule deer locate are found. They are a much-needed resource for does, fawns and bucks to grow antlers. Across the west, too many of the vegetative communities have reached climax stage where there’s no overgrown revegetation.

Once vegetative communities reach climax stage, they are not very good for mule deer or many other species other than from a cover standpoint. Additionally, they become vulnerable to catastrophic fire where large tracks of land are burned.

Wildlife agencies can’t continue status quo with our mule deer habitat. It’s not good for mule deer for so much of the habitat to reach climax stage. There needs to be diversity and many different successional stages found across the landscape. 

Close work must be conducted with our land managers who can slowly start to identify issues, define goals, objectives, and implement actions and strategies to make changes. These changes will take time and even longer to see changes in mule deer numbers. 

Next time you are out in your neck of the woods, ask yourself what is missing from this particular mule deer habitat? What was once here in abundance that is not there now? What are the causes of this change? What can be done to improve the situation? 

Only by understanding what the needs are and what can be done from a practical standpoint can we work to really improve, restore, and conserve mule deer habitats.

Eagle Mountain’s population has reported strong growth in recent years. This has put pressure on the city’s current road infrastructure. To keep up with traffic demands, Eagle Mountain City engineers have planned several road projects for the spring, summer and fall of 2023.

Here is a quick glimpse into what changes residents can expect this year:

Traffic light at Major St. and Eagle Mountain Blvd.

Traffic at the intersection of Major Street and Eagle Mountain Boulevard near the skate park is currently mediated by a four-way stop sign. Before the end of 2023, the City plans to install a traffic light at this intersection to help residents safely navigate in and out of the Autumn Ridge neighborhood and toward Mountain Trails Elementary.

Traffic light and intersection reconfiguration at Eagle Mountain Blvd. and Pony Express Pkwy.

In addition to the traffic light at Major Street and Eagle Mountain Boulevard, the City plans to reconfigure the intersection between Eagle Mountain Boulevard and Pony Express Parkway. The roundabout that currently stands at this intersection will be removed and replaced with a traffic signal. This project will be combined with the Major St/Eagle Mountain Blvd traffic signal project and will be completed before year’s end. The estimated combined cost of both projects is $1.75 M.

Traffic light at Pony Express Pkwy. and Woodhaven Blvd.

Commuters trying to enter and exit the Silverlake neighborhood via Woodhaven Boulevard must currently yield to heavy traffic on Pony Express Parkway. To mitigate this, the City will also be installing a traffic signal at this intersection. This project is estimated to be completed by the end of the 2023 calendar year.

Traffic light at Ranches Pkwy. and Stonebridge Ln.

The City will install a traffic signal at the corner of Ranches Parkway and Stonebridge Lane. This will allow for smoother access to Rockwell Charter High School and other recently-opened establishments such as Tagg-N-Go Car Wash and Inquisitive Minds Montessori School.

Lengthen left turn lane from eastbound Pony Express Pkwy. to NB Ranches Pkwy.

Commuters who turn left on to Ranches Parkway from eastbound Pony Express Parkway may have noticed traffic back up with other commuters making the same turn. The City has plans to lengthen the left turn lane to allow more space for motorists to wait at the traffic light. This project will be completed in conjunction with the traffic lights at Pony Express and Woodhaven and at Ranches Pkwy and Stonebridge Ln. The estimated total cost for all three projects is $750,000. All three are expected to be completed within the 2023 calendar year.

Widening of eastbound Mid Valley Rd. from Sheps Ridge Ln. to Pony Express Pkwy.

Eagle Mountain City will be widening Mid Valley Road to a five-lane section, which will ease traffic in front of Frontier Middle School. This project is estimated to cost $1.3 M and is expected to be completed by September 2023.

Eagle Mountain City has several plans to ease traffic congestion throughout the City as its population grows. Read more about these plans in the Transportation Master Plan.

Update 4/27/23: The intersection reconfiguration at Pony Express Pkwy and Eagle Mountain Blvd has be postponed and will not be completed in 2023. A timeline for completion is not yet available.

Most runners want to know when it is too cold to run outside. There are no clear-cut rules under which all experts agree. It is ultimately the runner’s personal tolerance and comfort level.

Runners with conditions such as asthma, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Raynaud’s syndrome and low body fat may be particularly sensitive to running in cold weather.

Some runners find they can only handle running in temperatures just below freezing (32° F), but not below that. If they do run in lower temperatures, they have difficulty breathing or experience numbness in their fingers and toes.

Other runners find that if they are dressed suitably, they can reasonably handle running at any temperature, no matter how far below freezing the weather is.

However, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends runners exercise caution when deciding to run outside when the air temperature falls below -18° F because tissue injury can occur in 30 minutes or fewer under these conditions.

It is also important to be aware of the wind chill factor, as even seemingly mild winds can have a significant effect on lowering the temperature on a cold day. For instance, when the air temperature is 30° F and the wind speed is 10 mph, the resultant conditions will behave as if it was actually 21° F.

Most weather apps will state the current wind chill factor for an exact location.

Risks of Running in the Cold

Frostbite is a direct freezing injury of body tissue that occurs with exposure to extreme cold. The nose, ears, fingers and toes are particularly prone to frostbite. Runners who notice the early signs of frostbite, including cold, red skin (which will progress to a tingling, numbness or a burning sensation) should immediately seek shelter to rewarm the skin.

Hypothermia, which is a drop in core body temperature to below 95° F, occurs when the total loss of body heat exceeds your physiological heat production. There are three grades of hypothermia and, unfortunately, severe hypothermia can be fatal. Shivering is an early warning sign of hypothermia, but shivering ceases as the condition becomes increasingly dire. 

Breathing can also be a challenge in the cold, with many runners experiencing a burning sensation in the throat or lungs. This can be especially problematic for runners with asthma.

Precipitation, which can include snow, sleet or freezing rain can make an outdoor run dangerously slippery. Icy conditions are particularly difficult. During these occasions, running indoors on a treadmill or other indoor options should be considered.

Underfoot conditions, even when roads have been plowed, the shoulders and sidewalks are often still covered in snow, slush and ice, adding to your running risks. Falling while running can result in an injury that could take you out of the game for some time. It is always best to err on the side of caution when road conditions are questionable. Some runners use ice spikes or products such as Yaktrax which increase the traction of running shoes on slippery surfaces.

Darkness is often the running time of choice due to the short daylight hours. Always ensure your path is well illuminated with a headlamp or nearby lighting, if available. Wear reflective clothing so that you are visible to drivers who might not otherwise see you.

Tips for cold weather running

Warm up indoors first. Sip a warm drink and conduct your warm-up routine indoors so that you feel ready and warm before heading out into the frigid air. This can also prevent pulling a cold muscle and make the blast of winter air a little more refreshing as opposed to heading out without the warm-up phase of your run.

Dress properly. Your clothing can make all the difference in your ability to run in the cold. Wear synthetic or wool-base layers and windproof outer layers. Avoid cotton. Overdressing can lead you to be overly hot and sweaty when running. Once you’re damp, you will end up feeling colder. Using layers is ideal since they trap heat and can be removed if you are feeling too warm. It is also important to wear warm socks, gloves, a hat and a gaiter to avoid exposing as much skin as possible.

Alter your route. Run small loops close to home or several short out-and-back routes. This will allow you to easily head back inside if you feel too cold or start noticing signs of hypothermia or frostbite.

Modify your mindset. Rather than focusing on your performance, focus on safety. At the first signs of harmful symptoms, think safety and head back inside. Be satisfied with what you were able to do under the circumstances.

Hydrate with warm liquids. During and after your run, drink warm (not hot) water or tea to make sure your core temperature remains at the proper level.

Shower in warm water as soon as you get home. Be careful not to adjust the temperature of the water too hot, as your perception of hot and cold may be distorted due to your limbs being cold or numb.

Finally, before heading outside in the extreme cold, ask yourself if you have safer options such as a treadmill or cross-training at a nearby gym. Weigh the options and consider what you really gain by running outside.

The December edition of The Eagle’s View is ready for your enjoyment. This month, we learn more about holiday decorating safety and cover how local birds cache their seeds. Read here.

Golden Retriever sitting in the snow

With the dangerously frigid temperatures we’ve been experiencing, Eagle Mountain City would like to remind pet owners of the dangers of leaving dogs outside for extended periods of time.

Hypothermia can kill

Dogs can experience hypothermia just like humans. According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), this condition can be fatal. Even during mild weather, a dog with wet fur in a chilly breeze can experience this emergency just as easily as dogs left out in freezing temperatures.

Many owners falsely believe that the dogs fur coat keeps them sufficiently warm in the cold. Of course, dogs cannot tell their owners that something is wrong, so it is up to the owner to assess winter conditions before leaving their dogs outside.

Some dogs are more susceptible to hypothermia than others depending on certain characteristics. Very young and old dogs are at a higher risk, as well as those with short fur. There are some who might also have hypothalamus issues (the part of the brain that controls body temperature).

Regardless of the dog’s age, breed or health, it is unhealthy for dogs to remain in the cold for extended periods of time, even if they have shelter. Just as humans need warmth in winter, so do our furry friends.

If work keeps a pet owner away from home for long hours, as a responsible pet owner they should consider an indoor day care that would keep their pet safe. Or perhaps a trusted neighbor could check on the animal in the home, letting them out at intervals as needed.

Speak Out

When temperatures begin to drop, Animal Humane Society’s and law enforcement receive a significant increase in calls. Animal lovers understand that extreme weather conditions can be deadly for pets.

Leaving a pet outside in extreme temperatures without food and shelter can be a criminal offense.

If you think a pet is in danger due to cold weather, it’s important to consider the variables. With dogs, size, age, and breed are important factors. Certain canine breeds – like Huskies, Akitas, Chow Chows and Alaskan Malamutes – actually appreciate the colder weather and can withstand longer periods of time outside, even in subzero temperatures. Cats are more capable of seeking shelter on their own and thus are less likely to suffer the effects of freezing temperatures.

Access to shelter is another important thing to consider before registering a complaint. Pay close attention to body language. Is the dog lifting its paws? Shivering? Whining or barking? Acting stiff or unable to move about freely?

If, after considering these points, you suspect an animal is being neglected or is in danger due to cold weather, politely let the owner know you’re concerned. There are some pet owners who genuinely do not know the risk that cold weather poses to their pets. If they respond poorly and continue to neglect the animal, the HSUS encourages you to contact your local law enforcement. Here in Eagle Mountain, that is our Utah County Sheriff’s Office – which can be reached at (801) 798-5600 any time of the day or night.

Before reaching out to law enforcement, document as many details as you can about the situation, including date, time, location and type of animal(s) involved. Photos or video can also be helpful. Our dogs rely on us to make good decisions for them. So, when the ‘weather outside is frightful,’ let’s do all we can to keep them warm, happy, healthy and safe.

In December 1847, the first Christmas in what was then Mexico but would eventually become Utah, was celebrated.

“It had only been five months since the pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley,” according to LDS Church News Archive, Article 28796. “By December more than 1800 had gathered in the valley where a large fort had been erected.”

Compelled across more than a thousand miles of unsettled prairie and mountains by their faith, these pioneers were firm in their commitment. Their observance of that first Christmas holiday they did in keeping with their extreme circumstances.

“Everyone had moved into the 29 cabins that were built inside the adobe walls of the fort, each 8 by 16 by 14 feet,” according to a Deseret News article published on Dec. 24, 1995. “While their menfolk worked outside, women faced the ongoing challenge of caring for children (558 were included in the group) and keeping order in cabins whose leaky roofs frequently oozed mud and water onto dirt floors and where mice were a constant challenge. On this day, they might have recounted to their children, as they went about their chores, the age-old story of Bethlehem and the birth of a special baby.”

Perhaps they talked of earlier Christmases, unrestricted by poverty.

No stores for shopping, no electric lights to delight the eye, no gifts to distribute among their children, no traditional Christmas feasts to fill their tables. Only the bare necessities to sustain life and faith in a hopeful future.

Their cabins were located near the former Rio Grande Railroad depot on Third West between Third and Fourth South Streets — the current site of the Rio Grande Café.

When Christmas 1847 arrived, Elizabeth Huffaker, a young girl in residence at the fort, left this account.

“I remember our first Christmas in the valley. We all worked as usual. The men gathered sagebrush and some even plowed – for though it had snowed the ground was still soft and the plows were used nearly the entire day. Christmas came on Saturday. We celebrated the day on the Sabbath, when we all gathered around the flag pole in the center of the fort, and there held meeting. And it was a great meeting. We sang praise to God, we all joined in the opening prayer, and the speaking that day has always been remembered. There were words of thanksgiving and cheer. Not an unkind word was uttered. The people were hopeful and buoyant because of their faith. After the meeting, we all shook hands with each other. Some wept with joy. The children played in the enclosure, and around the sagebrush fire that night, we gathered and sang…in the sense of perfect peace and good will, I never had a happier Christmas in all my life.”

The family of the girl who wrote of that first Christmas ate boiled rabbit for Christmas dinner, along with a little bread.

The usual daily ration was a half-pound of flour supplemented with thistle tops, berries, bark, roots and sego lily bulbs.

“All had enough to eat,” she wrote of the holiday meal.

Rebecca Riter, 32 years of age and another pioneer who migrated to the valley at the time, also spent Christmas 1847 in the Old Fort.

“The winter was cold,” Riter wrote. “Christmas came and the children were hungry. I had brought a peck of wheat across the plains and hid it under a pile of wood. I thought I would cook a handful of wheat for the baby. Then I thought how we would need wheat for seed in the spring, so I left it alone.”

Pioneer leader Brigham Young was not in the valley for that first Christmas. He had returned to Winter Quarters, Nebraska — staging point for the westward trek — to prepare for the greater migration the following year.

For the group he left behind in the valley, it was a holiday to remember.

Around 1:45 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 12, dispatchers received a 911 call reporting that one individual had allegedly been shot during a domestic dispute in the Eagle Park neighborhood of Eagle Mountain. 

Deputies who were on duty at the time quickly arrived on scene where they found one individual with severe bleeding from an alleged gunshot wound.

The victim was flown by LifeFlight to Utah Valley Hospital in Provo where he is expected to make a full recovery, according to a press release from the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies also found an elderly man in the home unharmed and helped him to safety. 

Around 2 p.m., residents within a half-mile of the incident received a reverse-911 alert from the Sheriff’s Office warning residents to shelter in place until further notice. 

Four schools in the affected area were placed on “secure mode” in response to the incident: Cedar Valley High School, Frontier Middle School, Eagle Valley Elementary and Mountain Trails Elementary. 

Sgt. Spencer Cannon, Public Information Officer for the Utah County Sheriff’s Office, says it’s important to know the distinction between securing schools and locking them down. 

“Lockdown would be more of something that would do if you’re worried about somebody getting into the school,” says Cannon.

Cannon says the UCSO was not concerned about any harm coming to students at the school because the incident was contained.

“But if we started releasing the kids,” says Cannon, “many of them would be coming home to the very neighborhood where the incident was happening… and we couldn’t allow that.”

All four schools remained on secure mode and Pony Express Pkwy. remained closed from Aviator Ave. to Eagle Mountain Blvd. until the suspect surrendered to law enforcement officers around 4 p.m.

Shortly after, the shelter in place was lifted and Pony Express Pkwy. was opened, and students were released to go home. 

Incidents such as the alleged shooting on Kestrel Way require plenty of moving parts to contain. Deputies must quickly respond and assess the situation. Residents and schools must be notified; streets need to be closed.

Cannon says the response to contain the situation and keep it contained happened “almost seamlessly.”

Utah County Sheriff’s deputies were able to smoothly and safely contain the situation with the help of other neighboring law enforcement agencies, such as Saratoga Springs Police Department, SWAT and other nearby agencies. 

Cannon says the total number of people on the scene was around 65 to 70.

While Cannon is very pleased with how the incident was handled by the UCSO and other agencies, he expresses his gratitude to the public for its cooperation.

“We got good cooperation from the public,” he said. “And that makes an incident like that go much better.”

The suspect was booked into the Utah County Jail on several charges and is currently being held without bail. 

Read the UCSO Press Release

The thought of snakes can illicit some squeamish responses. Snakes, often get a bad rap.

However, snakes play an important role in the functioning of local ecosystems.

Here are the three most common snakes residents are likely to encounter here in Eagle Mountain:

1-Great Basin rattle snake (Crotalus, lutosus).  These rattle snakes are common in the undeveloped areas of the city. Spotted in the foothills and valley floors, these snakes are general enough in their habitat and diet that they can make it most anywhere. The City receives reports of them on social media frequently. The most important thing you need to know is to give them space. They are not aggressive unless provoked and will usually try to slip away without any confrontation. 

It goes without saying, but rattle snakes are venomous and will bite if harassed or threatened. If a resident is bitten, it’s unlikely that person will die, but they should seek immediate medical attention.

Also be aware of where pets are while out enjoying the open space. It’s best in the spring, summer and fall to keep pets on a short leash if rattle snakes are known to be in the area. Dogs are more likely to encounter, and have a negative experience with, a rattle snake than a human. Be sure to know where the nearest veterinarian is who has anti-venom on hand. They are most active just before, and after, dark and like to shade up or go underground during the heat of the day. 

A large specimen may be close to 4-feet in length, but rarely exceed 3-feet. Their diet consists primarily of small mammals and rodents — mostly deer mice Peromyscus, maniculatus and Ord’s kangaroo rat Dipodomys, ordii. They go into hibernation during early fall and stay in their hibernaculum until early spring.

2—Great Basin gopher snake (Pituophis cateniferer). Also referred to as the blow snake due to the hissing/blowing sound they make when threatened. Many actually confuse these snakes with rattle snakes because they will coil up and shake their tail similarly to a rattle snake. 

These are a great snake to have around, to show kids and to teach dogs to be wary of snakes.  They are docile and have been known to eat rattle snakes. They are a great snake to have around the yard — especially if a residence is situated on the edge of the city as they also will take care of any rodent problems.

A large gopher snake can exceed 7-feet in length, but most are between 4 and 5-feet long. They may appear as a large scary snake, but are completely harmless. They do bite if threatened but are non-venomous. They prefer to eat small mammals, lizards and other snakes.  

3—Wandering garter snake (Thamnophis, elegans). Also known as a water snake. These are equally common throughout the city and are often found near wet areas, around homes, or areas that have open water.

These snakes, other than the smell, are completely harmless. A big adult garter snake can often exceed 3-feet, but are generally 18 to 24-inches long. They will sometimes feed on small mammals but are more likely to eat insects, small reptiles and amphibians. While they are harmless, they do excrete a milky/musky liquid that stinks and is hard to get rid of once on your skin.

There are several other species of snakes that have been found throughout the Great Basin. Some of these snakes exist in Eagle Mountain, although in low densities and are certainly less common than the three mentioned above. Here is a list of those snakes:

Uncommon snakes or snakes were likely once here in Cedar Valley. 

Western yellow-bellied racer (Coluber, constrictor mormon) These snakes become more common further south in the Great Basin. Like the name implies, they are one of the fastest snakes around.

Ringneck Snake (Diadophis, punctatis) They are likely more common the further south you go in the Great Basin, primarily southern Utah. They spend most of their time in the ground.  Once you see one, they are rarely miss ID’d as they have bright yellow to bright red under bellies. 

Night Snake (Hypsiglena torquata)—Found about 30-miles west of Cedar Valley just before the Nevada border. They have interesting eyes.

Long-nosed Snake (Rhinocheilus, lecontei) — The long-nosed and hog nose snakes are one of my favorites. These are another species that are completely docile but excrete a musky smell when threatened. If Eagle Mountain residents find one of these, please email TBlack@emcity.org.

Did you know that all snakes are protected in Utah? As such, it is illegal to harm, harass, take, or keep them as pets. Anyone found doing so could be charged accordingly.

Saturday evening, Eagle Mountain City held its annual Silent Santa event.  

Each holiday season since 2018, Eagle Mountain City has held the event, which is tailored for families with individuals in their homes who have disabilities or sensory issues.  

The Silent Santa event provides residents with one-on-one interactions with Santa – no lines, loud music, or other distractions.  

“They meet Santa on their terms,” says Dawn Hancock, Events Manager for the City. “Sometimes, it is from afar just waving and sometimes there are up-close interactions. It is entirely up to the family’s comfort level.” 

Individuals who attend the event can also drop off a letter to Santa. Those who provide their name and mailing address will receive a letter from Santa in return.

The event is put on entirely by the City Events staff. According to Hancock, staffing is kept at a minimum to help with overstimulation and prevent the spread of germs to vulnerable individuals.  

This year, 35 families totaling 84 children got to meet with Santa, a number that has nearly doubled since last year’s event, according to Hancock.  

Like its fall counterpart, the Adaptive Trick-or-Treat, Eagle Mountain’s Silent Santa program is an award-winning program. In 2020, Silent Santa received the Outstanding Adaptive Programming award from the Utah Parks and Recreation Association (URPA) for its efforts toward inclusion.  

Hancock says the event would not be what it is today without the event’s volunteer Santa, Cory Maxson. 

“We give him all the information for the families before they enter,” says Hancock. “As soon as they walk into the room, he greets them by name and tries to make the families as comfortable as possible. Sometimes he whispers, sits on the floor, dances, or listens. He is excellent at reading the room and allowing the kids to direct the interaction.” 

Because they may not have severe disabilities or sensory issues, Hancock says many families may fear that registering for the event would take away an appointment from someone who may need it more. Hancock says that is not the case. 

“Please, register for the event,” she says. “We want to see you and your family and help alleviate holiday stress.” 

The Events staff will continue to add more Silent Santa appointments each year as the event grows, and residents who think their family may benefit from attending the event are encouraged to register. 

“This event is not for the masses but for those who attend, it is everything,” says Hancock.  

Silent Santa is held each December following the Christmas Village. Registration opens around mid-November.  

Eagle Mountain is a wild-urban interface.

The truth is, and this should be no surprise, the community has wild canids living within city limits. Likely, there’s an influx of migration and emigration of coyotes and red foxes moving through the city throughout the year. 

It’s important that residents are aware of these and, like any wildlife, stay clear and give them space. 

Eagle Mountain has three species of wild canids that call the city home. First, and likely the most common, is the red fox or Vulpes, vulpes. It’s debatable as to whether or not the red fox is native to Utah. The state does not consider them a native or protected species. They are not included in Utah’s Wildlife Action Plan

Given that they are not a protected species, they can be taken any time during the year. The red fox has benefited greatly with the urbanization of Utah and North America. They are very adaptable and proficient hunters and persist well in the wild-urban interface.

There are likely several mated pairs located within City limits. More exist closer to Utah Lake near Lehi and Saratoga Springs.

They typically become more visible during the fall and winter months as food sources become scarcer and their breeding season approaches. They can quickly expand their population where prey is available, and larger canids are absent.

It’s important to note, because many of our native small mammals and birds didn’t evolve alongside the red fox, that they can impact populations for certain wildlife and can cause localized extinctions.

In the early 2000s, the red fox was almost single-handedly responsible for low populations of the Greater sage-grouse around Strawberry Valley in Wasatch County.

Second, is the coyote or Canis latrans. While native to Utah and North America, the coyote is another non-protected species of wildlife in Utah not mentioned in the WAP.  

Coyotes are commonly observed within the city, and Eagle Mountain likely has several mated pairs that successfully raise pups each year.

The most important thing to know about coyotes is this: In the absence of hunting, and/or continual harassment of man, they become habituated quickly to the urban-wild interface and have no real fear of man. 

While they are exciting to see to some, and always make cool sounds during certain parts of the day, they can cause problems with human health and safety, as well as the safety of kids and pets. 

Coyotes can be very protective of their den — especially if residents venture into their denning territory with pets.

Just like the red fox, Coyotes will take advantage of left-out garbage, garbage in the trash bins, and dog or cat food left in the back yard. Once they find these sources of food, they will continue to use them and become less fearful of humans, dogs and loud noises.

Third is the kit fox or (Vulpes, macrotis). The kit fox is only about the size of a house cat; however, these are a protected species in Utah and more information can be gleaned about them from the WAP (pg. 275). 

What is known about the kit fox is that it is native, nocturnal, it is found in desert habitats in Utah and found in flat desert areas throughout the Great Basin ecoregion. They feed primarily on small rodents (deer mice Peromyscus, maniculatus and Ord’s kangaroo rat Dipodomys, ordii ) that are abundant in Cedar Valley. 

They likely have established dens in the city along major washes, or in the undeveloped areas to the south and west portions of the city.

Here’s the take-home message about wild canids in Eagle Mountain City. Like all wild animals, coyotes and foxes are still wild:

1-PLEASE do not go out of your way to feed them,

2-TRY to not leave your food garbage and or pet food around your house and especially don’t leave it out overnight,

3-DO NOT try to make friends with them and keep them as pets just because they are cute and cuddly.  Stay clear, give them space report any serious issues or problems to the city.