Can I get Rabies from Coyote Bite?

A few months back, the Fox News Channel reported that a girl suffered a coyote bite at Arizona Park and got rabies shot from the doctors. This confirms that coyotes can infect people with rabies. Coyote, most commonly known as the American Jackal, is similar to wolf, at least in appearance. Coyotes are intelligent animals that can adapt to changing American landscape. Presently, they are available in many parts of North America.

What they eat  

Coyotes hunt rabbits, fish, frogs, and enjoy eating insects, snakes, fruit and grass. The details by the National Geographic team on this particular animal reveal that it can survive on probably anything.  It is carnivorous, herbivorous and can adapt to any landscape. This makes it a very dangerous animal considering the fact that it is not wild and not domestic as well.

Learn about the dreaded rabies

First off, people should know something about rabies. This viral disease attacks the central nervous system of animals such as coyotes and dogs. When a coyote bites, the transmission takes place through saliva containing rabies virus and enters the skin through a coyote bite.  When the virus enters the body, it develops rapidly by multiplying itself and spreading into the nerve cells and to the brain and other parts of the body.


  • Signs of rabies  


The symptoms of rabies vary depending on the health condition of the victim. The person may experience fever, headache, and malaise within four to eight weeks. Rabies is such a dreaded disease that there is dedicated World Rabies Day on 28th September of every year to create awareness about the disease.

Coyotes are one of the warm-blooded animals that carry rabies. As such, they are dangerous animals to have nearby in the community.  However, it is important to understand that a coyote becomes accustomed or habituated to people and may sometimes depend on humans for food.

All the same, there have been reports of coyote attacks on people and that they carry rabies, the incidences of people killed by rabies due to coyote bites. After a coyote bite, the person should keep off the population and remain under observation for testing rabies. A rabid coyote should be killed.

Other diseases from a coyote

Reports and studies confirm that coyotes carry rabies, but other diseases co-exist with the animal as well. They include:

  • Heartworm
  • Scarcoptic mange
  • Canine distemper
  • Canine parvovirus
  • Hydatid
  • Tularaemia
  • Infectious canine hepatitis
  • Equine encephalitis

While there are half a dozen of diseases that coyotes can transmit, some people argue that coyote attacks are rare. If the case of girl bitten at Arizona Park is taken as example, coyote was hiding under the table when the girl was bitten on her thigh. Her mother took her, ran towards her car, and all the time, that animal was still chasing them. Plenty of incidents exist in the United States, in which coyotes attack people.  In California, for example, the rabies virus is most frequently present in skunks and bats, and more often people are infected by coyote bites.

How to detect a coyote with rabies virus

It is evident that coyotes carry rabies. However, how do you know that this particular animal has rabies or that if bitten by it, the person will get rabies? Rabid animals often display unusual and unnatural behaviour. Some of the signs of an infected coyote include:

  • Not running away from approaching humans
  • Acting tame
  • Difficulty in walking, drinking, or eating
  • Change in temperament

Humans should stay away from such animals. If such an animal bites anybody, then the animal should be killed in order to treat the person infected of rabies through the bite of coyote. In the case of the girl bitten at Arizona Park, there were three coyotes in the park, and two of them were killed. This alone shows that how dangerous the disease is and how dangerous coyotes are.

How to avoid rabies

Rabies is no doubt, a dangerous disease. It is extremely rare for a person to be infected by rabies other than the bite from the affected animal. Affected domestic dogs can also transmit the virus. It is essential to prevent the occurrence beforehand and take precautionary measures to avoid rabies.

One thing we know of sure is that animals having rabies do not behave normally, are not afraid of humans, but instead they act in a tamed manner. Coyote bites carry the rabies virus. Coyotes are a dangerous species to deal with knowing that they can carry rabies. It is essential to know the symptoms of rabies in animals so that people can prevent it by staying away from such animals.

Where are you likely to see coyotes?   

Coyotes live in the neighbourhood and most of the times you can find them in the nearby parks or footpaths confronting children and older people. While they are normally afraid of humans approaching, you should observe their behaviour. Be careful of their actions and stay away from them so that they do not bite you.  The Humane Society states that a coyote is a nocturnal animal and if you see it during the day, then it is a sign that the animal is infected and carrying rabies. Coyotes with rabies are particularly live in Southern Texas but are also available in most of the United States.

Final words

Rabies is a dangerous disease and you should prevent it rather than wait until infected by a coyote bite. Coyotes look just like small puppies and often hide from the approach of humans. If not, then it is abnormal kind of behaviour.  If such animals are available near your neighbourhood, you should take the necessary preventive steps to remove them. Instead of getting a coyote bite and being infected by rabies, awareness should be created about the rabies, symptoms of rabies in coyote and what one do after being bitten by coyote to treat the disease.

For more information on coyotes in the USA, visit