Photograph by Michael S. Quinton
Copyright 2006. All Rights Reserved.
Information Regarding Unwanted Contact with Coyotes
Coyotes (Canis latrans) are found throughout our area and are typically not dangerous to people. The coyotes head and body is typically 32-37 inches and their tail is typically 11-16 inches. Coyote’s weight can range from 20-50 pounds. A true scavenger, coyotes will eat almost anything animal or vegetable. They sometimes hunt in pairs with a normal hunting route of 10 miles. Coyotes can reach speeds of over 40 miles an hour for short distances.
As for preventing unwanted contact with coyotes and protecting your pets here are some recommendations:
- Avoid contact with coyotes by keeping dogs on a leash and staying on designated trails;
- Because coyotes are everywhere in our area, dogs need to be closely supervised, even in our back yards or on the street ( coyotes may perform puppy-like play-bows, enticing dogs to come closer to them); and
- Coyotes are not afraid of dogs but are afraid of humans so if a coyote approaches your dog you need to scare it away.
Suggestions for protecting your pets on your own private property include:
- Construct a fence around your property that is six feet tall;
- Keep the area your home free of food sources;
- Keep your dog inside or in a secure kennel outside regardless of the time of day;
- Consider installing better lighting around your house for nighttime use.
Suggestions for protecting your pet on a walk:
- Always use a leash;
- Carry a stick and a noise-maker (can be an aluminum ‘shaker’ can or a horn);
- If possible, walk in areas with a lot of pedestrian traffic;
- Keep your dog as close to you as possible and head towards an active area;
Suggestions for an encounter with a coyote when walking your dog include the following:
- Making eye contact with the coyote;
- Yell at the coyote or make loud noises;
- Throw things at the coyote;
- Make yourself appear as large and menacing as possible;
- Never turn your back on a coyote;
- Use mace or pepper spray (but be careful as this can backfire by people accidentally spraying themselves with it rather than the predator).
Coyotes cannot tell the difference between their natural prey and pets and more often view pets as competition rather than prey. A coyote’s typical prey is a small mammal.