Listen to coyotes singing:
sServices we offer:
- Municipal Coyote Response Plans
- First responder training
- Population surveys, yard and neighborhood audits
- Animal removal, eviction, exclusion
- Predator-proof fencing, barriers, enclosures
- Aversion conditioning, humane hazing
- Educational presentations (in-person and Zoom)
Coyotes do not consider humans prey.
Unprovoked bites are extremely rare.
Important coyote facts
→ Western Coyote weigh ~ 30-35 lbs., Eastern, ~ 30-40 lbs.
→ Coyotes can live solitary lives or be a part of a Family Group.
→ Family Groups usually consist or 2 - 5 adults.
→ Coyotes are 100% monogamous. Until death do they part. ♥
→ Only the Matriarch and Patriarch reproduce.
→ Fertility in subordinate females is behaviorally suppressed.
→ Coyotes fiercely defend territories.
→ Urban territories can be as small as 2-5 sq mi.
→ Coyotes usually hunt alone or in loose groups.
→ They'll eat just about anything that's not too much trouble.
When the song-dog sings
When most people hear a group of coyotes howling and yipping, it can sound like there are six or more individuals, when really it might just be the Alpha pair. This phenomenon is called the “beau geste” effect.
It's not unusual to see or hear a coyote during the day. They scavenge and hunt for food both day and night, preferring to minimize interactions with people or other predators.
Repeated sightings of coyotes in an urban area can indicate a reliable source of food. Common attractants include pet food, garbage, compost, fallen fruit, birdseed (and the rodents attracted to it), poison bait stations (and dead or dying rodents), feral cats and their food.
Coyotes loitering in an area, repeatedly, indicates a nearby source of food.
Coyote encounter in an urban landscape
Coyotes have a natural fear of humans and are easily chased off. However, they can learn to tolerate proximity to humans when they receive food - when the juice is worth the squeeze. This food and or human conditioning is reversible.
Food conditioning happens when a coyote finds a reliable source of food in, for example, a neighborhood. The coyote will still be very shy and fearful of humans.
Coyotes can become conditioned to humans after repeated encounters that result in food "rewards" - directly or indirectly from people. They learn to associate humans with food - like a vending machine, and might follow a person, or approach closely. These coyotes may even try to nip to acquire food.
This "demand" behavior is similar to the jackals in Africa that will follow lions because they have learned lions lead to food.
Food and or human conditioning is reversible!
Aversion conditioning, which includes humane hazing, is a suite of techniques and tools used to instill - or re-instill - and maintain healthy boundaries between humans and wildlife.
See our aversion conditioning best practices, HERE.
Territoriality and Protectiveness
In spring and early summer, coyotes can become protective of their pups and may attempt to chase away any domestic dog they feel is a threat. This video, HERE, shows exactly the behavior - a nursing alpha female sending a message to a large dog to go away.
If you're walking a medium to large dog in an area where there are coyotes and you notice a coyote locking eyes with your dog - keep your dog on a close leash (minimum 6') and move out of the area.
For more on this type of encounter, please read Coyote Denning 101 on the Coyote Yipps' site.
Coyotes are very curious and very playful - and impartial about whom or what is willing to engage in play.
HERE's the famous video of a coyote and badger heading out for a jaunt.
HERE, a wild coyote and airedale play in the streets. In this video, HERE, a wild coyote engages playfully with a hound. HERE's a lovely video of a coyote making a connection with a human, and HERE, another playful greeting.
Coyote expert Janet Kessler (Coyote Yipps) describes the body language:
They don’t quite want to flee due to curiosity, and they don’t quite want to approach any closer due to fear: they are caught between the two, so their energy causes them to bounce up and down a little — it’s charming and endearing.
There are some who believe if they can rid their neighborhood of coyotes, they'll be "safe" - but that's not the case. When coyotes are removed, new individuals from the surrounding area quickly fill the vacancy. One minus one equals one.
This strategy, often explored by municipalities in an attempt to answer concerns by their constituents and promoted by conventional wildlife control tradesmen ($$$$), delivers a false sense of security at taxpayer expense.
In some cases, removal of coyotes can increase their numbers when one or both of the pack leaders are killed. The subsequent dissolution of the pack's social structure results in a cascade of negative impacts. Without the Alphas to defend their territory, new coyotes will have an opportunity to move in. Oestrus in subordinate females will no longer be suppressed, which could potentially result in more litters the following spring, depending on how the territory is divided. Additionally, researchers have documented a former matriarch and one of her offspring producing a litter after a new male replaced the patriarch that was killed. This does not happen in unexploited packs.
Bottom line, removal of coyotes in an attempt to reduce their presence or their numbers has never worked, and never will.
Check out this video explaining why, HERE.
Research has proven, reducing anthropogenic sources of food in a community will result in a decrease coyote sightings and fewer coyotes overall. Read more about the work conducted by Narragansett Bay Coyote Study (NBCS), HERE. Read a recent article, HERE.
In addition to reducing food attractants, aversive conditioning can establish and maintain healthy boundaries.
Ultimately, it will be the people who will keep coyotes out of neighborhoods by not welcoming their presence. By each individual doing their part.
Start HERE, with our Canid-Safe Checklist.
For communities with a high presence of coyotes, we recommend instituting a Canid Response Plan. Check out our video that explains what a response plan includes, HERE.
The solutions are pretty simple
The presence of coyotes in an urban area indicates they are being attracted to and supported by a reliable source of food. The key to reducing their presence, then, is to reduce or eliminate the food resources they are dependent upon.
Start HERE, with our Canid-Safe Checklist.
For communities with a high presence of coyotes, we recommend instituting a Canid Response Plan. Contact us to schedule a meeting.
Preventing pet and livestock losses
Responsible custodianship is key to preventing injury and loss of pets and livestock. The onus is on small pet owners and livestock produces to protect their animals from predators, just as they would (or should) protect their animals from the weather.
If you have recently lost an animal to a coyote or are finding it difficult to protect your animals, you may qualify for free assistance. Find out more about the Coyote Challenge, HERE.
Safety tips for small dog owners
Prepare to encounter a coyote and learn to haze them properly. Check out this instructional video on hazing, HERE.
When walking with a small dog, keep the dog on a leash no longer than 6 feet, and carry one or more of these items with you:
- Large garbage bag in your pocket.
- Survival whistle, like this one, HERE.
- Small air horn, like this one, HERE.
- Penny can or other loud noisemaker.
- Scare stick made with mylar ribbon, like this, HERE.
Coyote America, by Dan Flores.