You’re standing outside at night and all the sudden you hear the familiar howl and scream of the coyote pierce through the night. You hear more join in until it’s a mix of yips and howls of who knows how many coyotes surely about to pounce and destroy their prey. Are they coming your way? Should you be scared? The truth is, unless you are livestock in an un guarded pasture or a field mouse, you really don’t have to worry about a coyote attack.
The coyote has been painted as a dangerous animal for hundreds of years. Often shown as a sneaky trickster that will attack at any moment. Then there is Wiley Coyote who is always on the attack of Mr. Roadrunner. This is all an exaggeration, and for the most part the coyote will keep to himself and hunt in his home territory. Coyotes are not bold pack hunters that will roam the country like the wolf. In fact coyotes prefer solitude and will stay within the confines of their territory unless forced to move.
Threat to Humans?
Coyotes are not known to ever attack a full grown human. A coyote attack on a person is relatively un heard of. In fact, we are more of a threat to coyotes than coyotes are a threat to humans. Even a pack of coyotes will not attack a human unless they are provoked. Even smaller children are not likely to be prey for a coyote.
The coyote is known to be a carrier of diseases such as rabies. This would be an exception as sick animals are unpredictable and can attack out of confusion or aggression from the disease. Coyotes may also attack in protection of their den if someone or something were to get to close, especially if they have new pups they are trying to protect.
When coyotes start to venture into urbanized and populated areas is when they start to become a problem. Coyotes will not attack a human, however, they have been known to scale fences and pluck neighborhood pets right out of the yard. There have been suburban area coyote sightings increasing over the years as we take over more and more coyote territory. Keeping pet food inside is also a good idea to keep scavenging coyotes from getting comfortable and learning there is available food in your area. What are some ways to protect your pets?
- Keep your pets on a leash at all times when walking them
- Never leave them overnight on a tie out or leash
- Keep pet food indoors
- Install an electric fence to keep coyotes away
Despite being smaller than wolves, coyotes are actually the number 1 killer of livestock. This could be due to the fact that there is a much larger population of coyotes than wolves. Coyotes are also very adaptive and learn how to get around preventative measures in order to get to their prey. During the season when sheep and cows give birth to their offspring is a time when coyotes are typically very active trying to take advantage of the smaller and more vulnerable prey. Once these coyotes kill once they will continue to hunt livestock on these farms and ranches and may even bring their pups to the farm to teach them hunting skills.
If you see a coyote
You may catch a glimpse of a coyote every now and then. This should be a rare occurrence since they are typically skittish creatures. If you do happen to see a coyote during the day and he does not seem to be frightened by human presence, you can try making a loud noise since coyotes are frightened by sudden loud noises. If that does not work then you can try to raise a shirt or other object that makes you look larger. They coyote should retreat and run away. The most important thing to remember is not to ever give them food or let them have access to a food source near you.