Living with Coyotes
Why are they here?
Residential areas provide habitat for coyotes. As coyotes adapted to the presence of humans, they have lost their natural fear of us.
What attracts coyotes to your neighborhood?
Coyotes are attracted to neighborhoods due to the availability of garbage, pet food and even pets, which coyotes see as prey. The following list illustrates some of the attractants that draw coyotes close to people. Remove these attractants to discourage coyotes from visiting your property:
- Outdoor pet food or water
- Birdseed or food sources that attract small mammals
- Accessible garbage or compost
- Fallen fruit or berries from trees or shrubs
- Shrubs, woodpiles, decks or any other structure that can provide cover or be used as a den
How can you protect your pet?
It can be difficult to accept, but pets can be seen as a food source to coyotes and large dogs can be seen as a threat or possible mate. Coyotes have taken pets from backyards, open spaces and even right off the leash.
Keep your pet current on vaccinations. Reduce the risk to your pet by following these guidelines:
The only way to guarantee your cat’s safety is to keep it indoors. Outdoor cats also face potential death from cars, diseases, foxes, parasites, raccoons, dogs and birds of prey such as owls.
- Always supervise your pet outside, especially at dawn and dusk
- Keep your dog on a short leash while recreating — avoid retractable leashes
- Do not allow your dog to play or interact with a coyote
- If possible, pick up your dog when coyotes are visible
- Avoid known or potential den sites and thick vegetation
- Like domestic dogs, coyotes will defend their territory and their young
- If you must leave your dog outside, secure it in a fully enclosed kennel
When are coyotes a risk to you?
Although naturally curious, coyotes are usually timid animals and normally run away if confronted. Coyote attacks on humans are rare.
In many cases these attacks occur as a result of people feeding coyotes. Coyotes have adequate food supplies and are capable of surviving without our help. A coyote that associates humans with food may become demanding and aggressive. A coyote that bites a person must be destroyed. By feeding coyotes you put yourself, the neighborhood and coyotes at risk. It is unlawful to feed or intentionally attract coyotes.
If you have concerns about encountering a coyote, you may want to keep a deterrent handy. Deterrents can include rocks, pots and pans, vinegar in a water gun, paintballs, air horns or a repellent spray. Contact local authorities to ensure that you are using a legal method.
Do what you can to discourage a coyote’s approach
- Be as big and loud as possible
- Wave your arms, clap and throw objects at the coyote
- Shout in a loud and authoritative voice
- Do not run or turn your back on the coyote
- Face the coyote and back away slowly
- Call for help If the animal doesn’t leave, walk out of the area, keeping the animal in your sight For more information refer to CPW's Living With Coyotes