Coexisting with Coyotes
are versatile, intelligent and adaptable to most
habitats. Ironically, the qualities that have enabled
the coyote to survive have now made it one of the
most persecuted animals in the United States. However,
the coyote's bad rap is undeserved. They actually
play an important role in the ecosystem and do not
pose a serious risk to humans.
Keeping Coyotes at a Distance
Coyotes are drawn to
urban and suburban neighborhoods for two reasons:
human encroachment into native habitat and the availability
of food. Take the following steps to prevent coyotes
from being attracted to your home:
- Secure garbage
cans by fastening lids with rope or
of especially attractive food wastes
such as meat, cheese and eggs by adding a small
amount of ammonia to the bag.
- When composting,
use enclosed bins rather than exposed
piles. Avoid adding dog or cat waste, meat, milk
or eggs to compost.
- If you have fruit
trees, pick the ripe fruit and keep fallen
fruit off the ground.
- Motion sensing
lights or sprinklers may deter coyotes
from your yard. A motion sensing sprinkler, the
"Scarecrow," is available from Wally's
- Clear bushes
and weeds away from your home. Dense
vegetation provides attractive habitat for animals
on whom coyotes prey.
Keeping Companion Animals Safe
Cats and small dogs
may be seen as prey to the coyote, while larger
dogs could be injured in a confrontation. To avoid
these situations consider the following:
your yard. The fence must be at
least six feet tall with the bottom extending
at least six inches below the ground. Fences
can be made more effective by outwardly
flaring the top of the fence.
companion animals in at night.
Coyotes are primarily nocturnal.
cats indoors where they are also
safe from cars, other animals and from getting
leave pet food outside.
or neuter your dogs. Coyotes are
attracted to and can mate with unsterilized
Trapping and relocation
of coyotes is not recommended except as a last resort.
Disruption of family packs can cause orphaned juveniles
to seek easy prey, such as small dogs and cats,
and other coyotes may move into the vacated area.
Coyotes are usually
wary of humans and will avoid people whenever possible.
Aggressive behavior toward people is not normal
and is most often a result of habituation due to
feeding by humans. If you encounter a coyote, remember
feed or attempt to "tame" a coyote.
- Avoid direct eye
- Do not turn your
back or run.
- Attempt to leave
the area calmly.
- If followed, make
loud noises and make yourself look big. If this
fails, throw rocks or sticks in the direction
of the coyote, being careful not to hit the coyote.
Coyotes are not considered
a disease threat. Outbreaks of rabies in coyotes
are rare and not commonly implicated in the transmission
of the disease to humans or companion animals.
More information about
humanely co-existing with our wild neighbors can
be obtained by browsing our other expert
articles. Visit our "Animal House" display at
our shelter for more ideas about "animal proofing"
your home and yard.
Modified and reprinted
with permission of the Animal Protection Institute