Coyotes are amazing creatures, but that doesn’t mean that you want them near you and your family. While smaller than their relatives the wolf, coyotes can get to weigh as much as 46 pounds. Even though these beautiful creatures may remind you of your dog, they are extremely dangerous. They have sharp teeth and are designed to hunt and kill. If you’re not careful, a coyote can see your dog or cat as a meal. In the worst situations, the coyote may even see you as a threat and attack you. If you notice coyotes in your yard or your neighborhood, you need to be careful. Here is everything you need to know about what to do when you encounter coyotes near your home.
How do I know it’s a coyote?
When you see a coyote, you might not realize what you’re looking at. Coyotes can look exactly like a stray dog. They also look very similar to wolves. It doesn’t help that coyotes are typically nocturnal, so you’ll generally be looking at them in the dark. Before you go out to help the creature thinking it’s somebody’s pet, you need to examine it. You can tell it’s a coyote if it starts to howl at the moon. While some dogs might howl, most do not. Dogs tend to bark instead. Coyotes also appear to have longer legs than dogs. The longs may not actually be longer, but the location of the joint and the build of the animal makes it appear this way. No matter what, it’s always best to use caution and assume the animal is a coyote. Better safe than sorry.
What should I do when I spot a coyote?
When you encounter a coyote, you may not know what to do. Your first reaction of fear may cause you to do something unadvisable. Take a breath and think about your actions before you respond.
If you are inside, do not go outside unless you absolutely have to get your child or pet back inside. You should lock the doors and stay away from the windows. When the coyote goes away, you should give it some time before going outside again in case the creature decides to come back. The coyote may be in the area because they found a source of food. They may come back to continue eating, and they might bring friends with them.
If you’re already outside, you should avoid running away. If you run away from the coyote, it may decide to chase you. Coyotes can run up to 43 miles per hour, so you’re not going to be able to outrun it. Luckily, coyotes will typically run away before chasing you. You should also avoid making eye contact with the animal. When you make eye contact, the coyote will think that you are challenging it. They aren’t exactly the type of animal to step down from a challenge, either. It’s best to avoid eye contact and try to sneak away unnoticed. You can also haze the coyote to get it to run away.
What is hazing a coyote?
Coyotes are generally more afraid of humans than we are of them. If you are in a safe enough location where the coyote can’t get you, it’s a good idea to try to haze or scare the coyote into running away. One of the easiest ways to do this is to simply scream at the coyote to go away. Your loud voice will usually encourage them to scurry off into the night. You may try to scare it by throwing something in the direction of the coyote. If you choose to do this, do your best to avoid hitting and injuring the animal. It may be in your space, but that doesn’t mean you want to hurt it. You may also use things that make a lot of noise, such as a noise maker or a whistle to scare it.
How do I prevent coyotes from getting into my yard?
It’s best to prevent coyotes from feeling welcomed into your yard in the first place. You can do this by keeping anything that might be tasty to the coyote out of your yard. Put away all food or pet food. You should also put away the pets themselves. Your little furry friend might encourage a coyote to come get a quick meal. If you know that there are coyotes in the area, it’s best to keep the pets inside.
There are a number of invitations that you might have not considered in your yard. Your grill, for example, could still have little bits of food on it. Clean your grill properly after every use. You should also cover the grill when you’re not using it. You need to be careful about your garbage, too. Garbage with a lot of bones and meat in it should be taken to the main dumpster as far away as possible. Keep the garbage covered to the best of your ability. You should also pick up any fruit that drops from fruit trees in your yard.
Finally, you want to make sure that you don’t actually go out and feed the coyotes yourself. Some people do this thinking the animal is a spare dog. Others do it even though they know it’s a coyote because the animal looks cute. Avoid temptation. Do not feed the local coyotes. Otherwise, they will come back looking for more food and will likely be more aggressive if they do not get it.
What should I do when I walk my dog?
The biggest dangers of coyotes aren’t to you but rather your dog. This makes taking your dog out for a walk especially scary. However, they need to go. The first thing to do is keep your dog on a leash, even if you have a fence. If you spot a coyote while out with your dog, you will be able to use the leash to quickly get them back inside to safety.
While outside with your dog, you should use keys, whistle, or another noise maker to help scare coyotes away. Some people also carry pepper spray or a squirt gun in the case of an encounter.
Keep your dog’s tags up to date in case they get spooked by a coyote and runoff. If they do survive, you want the person who finds them to be able to return them to you. You should also make sure that your pet is up to date on all rabies shots. If they do get a bit, you don’t want to deal with a rabid dog in your home.
Should I tell anyone if I believe there is a coyote nearby?
One coyote sighting might not be cause for a huge outcry. However, you should probably warn anyone you know in the area with small pets or even children. Give a quick call to the neighbors, but one quick sighting isn’t cause for much more chaos than that. Now, if the problem becomes consistent, it might be time to call animal control. Different cities have different rules regarding coyotes. If you live in an area prone to coyotes, you should learn the proper protocol in your area for when the situation does come up.
Should I try to hunt the coyote?
Some people think the best way to get rid of coyotes is to shoot at them. While coyotes aren’t endangered, that doesn’t mean that you should hurt an animal unnecessarily. Avoid hitting the animal with sticks or shooting it if you can. These actions should only be reserved for emergency situations when the coyote has your pet by the throat.
Coyotes are gorgeous, majestic creatures that remind us of the beauty of nature. However, that doesn’t mean that we want them in our back yards. They should stay in nature. When they don’t stay in their realm, you need to do what you can to protect your family and pets. Take preemptive measures to avoid the situation all together. However, when it does occur, know how to handle it. At the end of the day, coyotes can cause some real damage if you let them.