I received this note from Andrea in Southern California:
Janet — I came across your blog. We live in SoCAl on the edge of a canyon. The Carlsbad City Council has approved nearly 600 homes in the valley over the hill from us. Here’s a pano of that valley with my husband and dog, Max, taking what will be one of the last looks before dozers move in. I was able to take some shots and video a few years ago of coyotes. As developers are moving in I expect we will have more coyotes and dens close by our homes. Personally, I love hearing them below our deck or in the distance. We do see scat around. Unfortunately people have lost a number of cats due to leaving them outside.
- Thank you for your great blog and photos. Andrea
- Yipps: Thank you, Andrea, for sending these. So, what happens to coyotes when developers move in? Yes, coyotes will most likely move in closer to the human neighborhoods. They won’t move out further into the countryside, because there is little countryside left. Coyotes are hugely adaptable and opportunistic. They basically will move into any area where they can safely survive — and almost always this involves moving closer to urban areas where where life is pretty safe. For instance, guns are not allowed. Some of us have become interested in their plight and their behaviors. We’ve learned that indeed humans can live with coyotes as neighbors without expending a whole lot of effort.
- Please see Coyotes As Neighbors: Focus On Facts for a one-stop informational on some easy coexistence facts and guidelines.
09 Aug 2013 1 Comment
09 Jul 2013 7 Comments
I found your blog Coyote Yipps when I was looking on the internet, as I have a question on Coyotes and my dogs. Its really wonderful what you are doing for Coyotes and I loved reading through your postings. However, I’d like to ask a direct question about a situation with my dog(s.)
I live in Topanga Canyon in Los Angeles and my house backs on to the state park and hundreds of miles of the santa monica mountains. I have taken my dog Krissi out the back there for nearly a year hiking trails and have occasionally seen coyotes, but we have always kept a respectful distance. I do have her off leach as this is her home, but she is well trained and rarely goes far from me. When we are at home, she does jump the fence and has free access to an area she seems to stay in. I have seen coyotes on the ridge above our house. Krissi has been keen to chase these coyotes off ‘our patch’ if she senses them within theses boundaries. She is a german shepherd/ healer mix and is very quick and smart, but also very gentle. Not at all agressive. I have always felt a bit nervous of her going out there and have kept a close eye out, but I trust her and she seems to be clear within this boundary.
In the last weeks I have been dog sitting another young dog, 2 year old, Lady. She is a hound mix, with some pit bull in her. Krissi has now got much more confident, and is leading Lady off on adventures, where they have been gone for up to an hour and come back exhausted.
This morning, they were keen to get out at around 7am for a pee, but they jumped the fence and went high tailing it up to an area above the house. I heard what I am sure was a coyote squeeking/yelping and both girls went off in what sounded like hot pursuit. I called and whistled and they came back 10 mins later, Lady with no collar on, and they were both panting, elated and thirsty. There was no signs of a fight or any blood or anything that led me to think there had been a conflict of any kind.
I am about to go out and look around the area I saw them go to, which I think might be a coyote home? I wonder if coyotes would be making a home so close to where a dog lives? or if the coyotes are watching out for them? or if they are just hunting for food themselves? (There is a small enclave of cabin houses where I live.)
It is a dilemma for me, because I obviously want to protect wild life, but I also want to give my dog(s) freedom to be able to explore and be free. I dont want to leach them all the time and I cant fence the property.
Can you let me know your thoughts, as I dont feel right that they are chasing or harrassing Coyotes.
Thank you for your time.
With best wishes, Sandy from Topanga
Thank you for contacting me. I ended up contacting Wildlife Conflict Manager Mary Paglieri at LittleBlueSociety.org to get an accurate read on your situation. Mine are all “urban” observations and have to do with pets/coyote interactions in the city under human supervision: in these urban areas, dog predatory behavior is kept in check by the presence of alpha humans. In rural areas, when humans aren’t around, anything goes.
Since the size of your dog is large, it can hold its own against any coyote. Please realize that the behavior of your dogs away from home can be quite different in how they interact with other smaller animals. The breeds you mention have a high prey drive. Left to their own devices, it is highly likely that they will chase and they could even kill coyotes and other animals.
Most dogs look elated after a predatory chase and a kill. That the collar was off suggests that there may have been a struggle. Shepherds’ and Pit Bulls’ mode of dispatching other animals is to grab and shake — and it doesn’t necessarily draw blood. Two dogs have now formed a pack, making them more dangerous to wild animals. And both dogs outweigh coyotes — there is no contest.
I’ve read and heard about dogs which have established respectful relathionships with coyotes in rural areas – they read each other well, and they respect each other’s boundaries and keep their distance. If your dog is exhausted and happy from running, it doesn’t sound like this is what is going on. In city parks, I have never seen coyotes and dogs frolicking together just for fun. In the parks, a “truce” between the animals is maintained through respecting critical distances and keeping dogs away from coyotes. Alpha humans are always there to moderate the dogs’ behavior. Dogs and coyotes don’t really like each other.
Also, if there is a coyote pack/family, they could get fed up with what they consider to be harassment within their territory, especially when your dog is alone. If there are “raspberry” abrasions on Krissi’s legs, or a nip on the haunches, these constitute clear messaging to your dog from the coyotes that they want your dog to stay away.
So, although this might be an unhappy solution for you, my suggestion would be to not to allow your dogs free reign in this area. Hope this helps!
Apologies for the very late response and for your time in answering my then, current issue. I’d like to share briefly the outcome of the story.
Unfortunately, due to fencing costs, the amount of land that I have and my adjacency to the state park, I was not able to stop my dogs from running off the property. What I did, was to be vigilant about them staying close to me over a month or so and to train them to come at my call. I kept them in from ‘magic hour’ before the light changes at dusk, or from going out early in the morning, unless accompanied. Since that initial incident, there have been no such behaviors of chasing, or any nicks or bites to my dogs.
What I can report is an interesting incident after one of my dogs had caught a rabbit and brought it down to the house. The rabbit was fully in tact, and seemed to have died of a heart attack. I left the rabbit by the edge of my property that night and in the morning I went out with the dogs, only to be greeted by a very large coyote just beyond my property line. My dogs and he circled each other, but at a respectful distance, whilst I shouted at my dogs to come back. Neither the coyote or the dogs listened to me, they were in a kind of territorial dance and the coyote ended up leaving, with much strength and at his own pace with my dogs staying with me. It was interesting to say the least and very unexpected. I felt like they knew each other and I had been the only one in a panic. (I carried the dead rabbit up the ridge and left it for the coyote as a peace offering.)
I have not seen the coyotes near my property since and my dogs have not been out on any ‘hunts’ as far as I can see. The coyotes used to come right into the garden and close to the house, as I caught them on my wild-life camera. My dogs have been staying at a closer radius to home. It seems the game is over.
My conclusion is that there was indeed a dialogue between them, the coyotes very clearly showing they did not want the dogs in their area and it seems the message got across and an agreement was made.
I am putting up the wild-life camera again to see if the coyotes are around further up the ridge, so I’ll see what is happening, if anything.
Best wishes and thanks again for your time.
Sandy from Topanga
18 Jun 2013 Leave a Comment
in coexisting with coyotes Tags: coexistence, coyote behavior, coyote behavior towards dogs, coyote behavior with dogs, coyotes, coyotes and dogs, coyotes and humans, dog behavior towards coyotes, dog behavior with coyotes, dogs and coyotes, urban coyote behavior, urban coyotes
The updated presentation — updated on June 13th — is at the top of the page in the second posting on this blog: It’s called Coyotes As Neighbors: Focus on Facts.
The version I’m posting today, here, in this posting, is called Coyotes As Neighbors: How To Shoo Off A Coyote. It is a shorter version of that first one: I’ve cut out some of the coyote behavior slides and the section on killing coyotes, and I’m concentrating on human and dog relationships to coyotes, and how to shoo them off in each instance. This version here is 20 minutes long, versus 30 for the one at the top of the yipps blog. Otherwise, they are exactly the same.
I don’t think a lot of the information in these videos can be found anywhere else — I don’t think much of this detailed urban coyote/dog behavior has been observed or documented. Except for some statistics and the section from Robert Crabtree (I think that’s the original source) that killing coyotes increases their populations, most of the coyote information in these videos comes from my own 7 years of first-hand observations. I’ve been spending 3-5 hours daily in our parks, engaging in my “pioneering photo documentation” (that’s what one journalist called it!) and research of coyote behavior and their interactions with people and pets. I believe these are the first such presentations which concentrate on the urban coyote himself! I’ve been told by coyote specialist professors that the dog/coyote observations are new. The video has been reviewed by an experienced wildlife conflict manager with 15 years of experience in the field.
Anyway, I would like to to get the information out there now because we’re in the middle of pupping season — there might be more coyote encounters coming up. This information will be useful especially to dog owners. If you have time for the longer version, I recommend that one. If you don’t, try this shorter version. They are both pretty long, but they contain most information that you’ll need, especially if you are a dog walker.
08 Jun 2013 Leave a Comment
Why, you might ask, would you not try to save abandoned coyote pups? The reason is that they are probably not abandoned at all. Coyote pups are left for extended periods of time while both parents go off hunting. In 99% of the cases of puppies found without a parent around, this is what is going on. You will actually be hurting the situation rather than helping by “kidnapping” them from parents who love them and know how to give them the best upbringing. In the wild, and with their parents, they have a huge chance at survival. Once they are removed and placed in a rehabilitation center, their chances go down. The rehabilitation center can take care of their physical needs, but cannot train the pups early on how to fend for themselves: hunt, avoid, interact with other animals.
The hand that intends to help may, in fact, be causing their doom. Rehabilitated baby animals have a much harder go in life and many do not make it.
Here are some pups that were found “abandoned” and taken into a wildlife center. They are doing superbly well in the center. But they would have been doing better in the wild with their parents. Note that pups in the wild are now about the size of those below that no longer fit in the bucket!
If you want to donate to a Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, here is a great one: AWARE. Melanie Furr took the photos of coyotes in the bucket and wrote a fabulous newsletter featuring coyotes for AWARE — press HERE to read it. Alex Johnson took the three coyote pups, upper right.
31 May 2013 1 Comment
A coyote may follow you and your dog — the dog is the issue — out of curiosity or to monitor it, the same way you yourself might follow a “suspect” prowling through your neighborhood, to find out where they were going and what they were doing.
If you find that you are being followed by a coyote, walk away from the coyote — and don’t run, running invites chasing. Keep aware of the coyote and shoo it off effectively if it gets too close, and move on. And keep your dog leashed. Pick up a small dog.
The leashing is to keep your dog from being distracted by the coyote and going after it. You want to avoid engagement between the two.
I’ve seen this same following-behavior used for a purpose totally different from either curiosity or monitoring. It was used effectively by a coyote to avoid detection, as a human and his dog passed by. The dog had a history of chasing the coyote, and the man had a history of pursuing the coyote aggressively with his camera. So this coyote had a particular interest in avoiding this duo. The dog and person passed while the coyote stood absolutely still and remained hidden and undetected in a dark wooded area. Then, to my great surprise, the coyote came out of hiding and followed them at a close 30 feet. The coyote did so carefully, on high alert and prepared to bolt if necessary. This went on for about 200 feet before the coyote veered off to where the brush picked up again and it could continue undetected through the bushes. Neither the man nor his dog ever looked back!
In this case, what seems to be going on is that, by following in the duo’s “wake”, the coyote was continuing to avoid detection. Animals and people tend to look around themselves, but much less frequently directly in back of themselves. We all tend to concentrate on sounds, smells and sights which are in front of us or to the sides. Coyotes know this, and “follow” as a method to avoid being seen.
11 May 2013 Leave a Comment
A few days ago, I was able to keep up with one of the coyotes I know as she began trekked at dusk.
She started out in a park where she found a gopher as she lingered, waiting for the day to fade. Then she headed out into a neighborhood street, with plenty of parked cars but no moving traffic. She picked up a couple of mice at the edges of driveways. She didn’t have to search for them — they were just “there”. She couldn’t have seen them. Did she hear them or smell them? They were small and eaten quickly.
She then headed, decisively, to wherever she was going. She walked at a fast pace and kept her body high and tall — she was on high alert. She was amazingly tuned-in to her surroundings and the human world she entered as twilight set in. I’ve been told that pet dogs know their owners better than the owners know themselves. This is because they watch you all day! Well, coyotes don’t watch you all day, but they do watch us — from behind the scenes — and they learn our patterns.
She seemed to know where human perception lay, and that it wasn’t as keen as hers, especially at night. She knew when to stand still, when to duck down or simply walk behind a tree so that only part of her was visible — not enough to make her recognizable. Only one person saw her — amazed — “is that a coyote!” She stuck to the side of the road where she could duck into high grasses or shrubbery if she needed to — and she needed to three times, when three different cars went by. But she also wandered into the middle of the road several times, zigzagging right down the middle of it.
Her next stop was way down the street at an abandoned field where she hunted and caught another gopher. It took her only a short time to eat this, crushing the bones so the gopher could be consumed whole. Then she trotted assuredly onto a long church driveway. She seemed to know where she was headed. She moved along the driveway fairly quickly, stopping to sniff and “mark” in a couple of places, before climbing a hill at the edge of the church property. Here she hunted a little, but didn’t find anything.
She was now at the edge of a 6-lane thoroughfare. I thought she would turn back and descend the hill — but she waited there as the traffic whizzed by — she was hidden by the fading daylight and the darkness under dense trees. Then she took off – resolutely — across the street! “Oh, no,” I thought, “I’m going to have to watch her die”. But, as she crossed, the traffic magically parted for her. In fact, I was able to cross during the same brief break in the traffic. Her judgement and timing were excellent. She got to the other side of the street and climbed the steep grassy embankment and was off down the next winding two-lane road. Please note that it’s much darker than the photos show — the headlights of the cars are on because they need them.
I exerted myself to keep up but lagged behind because of the steep hill. When I got to the road she was now on, she was way way ahead — almost invisible in the dusk. I decided to give catching-up a try. I was able to do so because she stopped to examine and pick up some road kill — I think it was part of a squirrel. She carried it off to the side of the road where she was somewhat hidden in the tall grasses. This is when I caught my breath. She spent several minutes eating her find. She then descended from her hiding place and continued on her way, up the two lane road. Her trajectory as I followed was in a single direction — far and away from where she began. I wondered where she was ultimately headed. I would have needed night vision goggles to follow any further.
I actually tried on a pair of night vision goggles from my son’s lab. Wow! In a totally blackened room, you can SEE! What you see is a very clear and sharp black and green. I wondered how close these are to coyote night vision. Most of the daytime treks I’ve kept up with lasted anywhere from one to three hours. I’ve always assumed that nighttime trekking was a more substantial endeavor, maybe lasting all night. I wasn’t able to find out how long this one lasted because of my own inability to see. I turned around and went back.
16 Apr 2013 Leave a Comment
Here’s a full 20 minute presentation I created for my/our new site: CoyoteCoexistence.Com. I began the site with a couple of friends in order to stop the trapping and killing of coyotes in Atlanta last fall.
It’s through Yipps that we connected for this project. We organized and flew to Atlanta to present the case against trapping at a town meeting. We printed a large packet of flyers and helped publicize the event. In the end, money that had been collected to hire a trapper was returned — the trapper was not hired! This was a clear sign that we should proceed with our efforts!
This video is an aid for future presentations. It is cutting-edge in its unique approach, concentrating on coyote himself! A muted version will also be available for presentation by others at meetings, and so will shorter clips of specific sub-topics, such as “shooing-off”. Contact CoyoteCoexistence.Com at our email on that site for further information.
07 Apr 2013 4 Comments
Story sent from Canada:
I received a call from Animal Care and Control today. They had picked up a coyote that had been caught in a leg-hold trap.
The guy at ACC said that he just couldn’t put her down. So, I met him out at the rehabilitation center where the coyote is now in one of our outdoor enclosures.
Although the coyote would rather be free, at least she is still alive. She doesn’t look as though she was hurt by the leg hold trap and she appears to be healthy.
I gave her a nice dinner for her stressful day. Since she doesn’t appear hurt, we’ll release her soon as soon as we find a good place for her. The bad news is that we can’t release her back to where she came from.
How nice that they called you! It gives me hope to know that there are good people out there. I wonder what the story was and why the trapper didn’t get her.
I hope there is a good place for her to be released.
Of course it is her home which she is tied to: her family and territory. The ones released by Stan Gehrt tried to make it back to their homes. They all died in the process. If released too far from home, there are more obstacles — people and cars — that the coyote has to deal with.
Not only that – in her desperate search for food she could get into trouble with people and their pets!!!
Someone called ACC to say that they had seen her in the leg-hold trap. So there is another good person out there.
We do have places to release coyotes. Unfortunately it won’t be with her family or in her own territory. And, they don’t all make it when they are released in a new place. I hate this, but at least we are giving her a chance.
Couldn’t it be done at night – who would know? The whole experience will be aversive enough to keep her from going into the area where she was trapped.
Unfortunately, I do not know where she was found. They don’t want me putting her back in the same area.
The attached is not a good photo, but a photo none the less of our latest visitor at the rehabilitation center. She is curled up in front of a heat lamp on a drizzly day. She ate all of her kibble last night but neither of the rats that I left for her. I guess she doesn’t like them if they are not alive and running from her. She will get more kibble, rats, insects and other goodies tonight.
I am still working on getting the location of the spot where she was found. It may take me a few more days. Once I find out where she was found, I’ll get her released close by.
I know that she is not keen on where she is and she is afraid. However, she is warm, has food and shelter and it is temporary. We will get her back where she belongs soon.
It’s a great picture! And you are an angel!!!
I found out where the coyote was found. I am working on a clandestine release within a couple of blocks. Will keep you posted.
Just wanted you to know that the coyote brought in for rehabilitation was returned to her neighborhood on Wednesday night about 11:30 pm. I wasn’t there, but here is what was relayed to me. She was at the back of the kennel during the drive until she got close to her neighborhood when she could tell that she was almost home. Once the door was opened, she bolted out. About halfway to the tree line, she turned around and looked at the person who released her. Then she went on her way to find her family.
We all just love a happy ending.
28 Mar 2013 1 Comment
We live right next to a Provincial forest with nothing behind us but forest and mountain, we have almost invisible neighbors each side, so generally we are very in a very secluded location.
Last Winter, we noticed a coyote sitting at the edge of the forest about 20 metres away, he looked very thin and it was very cold out there – now I know that people should not feed coyotes, but my wife just couldn’t stand to see this poor fellow, so she got two fresh chicken legs and a handfull of beef offcuts and took them out to where he had been (he moved off when she went outside)
Within a couple of minutes he came back and polished off the lot and disappeared (maybe he took some back for his mate), anyway this was repeated each day for quite some time, until he would literally follow her to the feeding area a mere 3 or 4 metres behind. She would always talk quietly to him and he would stand about 2 metres from her and seem quite relaxed. Needless to say he began to look very healthy with a lovely full coat, and sometimes he will go away for 3 – 4 days and then return.
One day I was sitting on a planter, when I realized he was sitting just behind me (see attached photo) luckily I had my camera so very slowly I took this photo while I kept talking to him very softly – he stayed right there. Anyway my question is this; my wife took some food to him yesterday and he came right toward her and stopped about 1 metre away, then almost playfully he did a few little bounces with his front feet, his head was low and his rear in the air, then he started to eat the food – was he playing ? and was this his show of freindship ?
Incidentally we never give him any ‘human’ food only raw chicken and pieces of raw beef, I guess we love all animals and they seem to respond so well to us, including Owls, Racoons, a skunk family, and of course about 12 red squirrels !
Duncan and Rosalind
Thanks for writing and sharing your experience — and wonderful photos. Personally, there is nothing wrong with helping animals that are having a hard time in winter as long as it doesn’t create a nuisance for neighbors. Think of it as “rehabilitating” wildlife in the wild. The “don’t feed” is for misguided people that are feeding coyotes that don’t need any help – that, is “hurting” the coyote.
Obviously this coyote was there hoping to find some relief from starvation. The little bounce is happy anticipation, and gratefulness for the food – this is the behavior pups engage in, when parents bring food back for them.
The coyote is also keeping a respectful distance. It’s best if Rosalind puts the food down and leaves quickly, as not to condition it to approach or follow humans – this is strictly for the coyote’s protection.
Continue to help this little animal get over the hump. One day the coyote will leave, and may not return…until it needs help through another harsh winter or drought. Duncan and Rosalind will both share in the blessings of the merciful!Mary Paglieri Human Animal Conflict Consultant LittleBlueSociety.Org
20 Feb 2013 2 Comments
It was dusk when coyotes headed out on their evening trek. They followed the street line at first. Coyotes, like the rest of us, take the path of least resistance. Within minutes, the one in front stopped short, stood very still and listened. Yep, although you could not see them, there were people talking ahead. Better change to a less conspicuous route.
They took a path under a thicket, following the street line, but way in from the street, along the backside of houses and apartments — it was an overgrown green corridor never used by people. Soon they emerged from the overgrowth. The dim dusky light hid them well. Nonetheless, two cars stopped to observe, and commented to me excitedly. Everyone wanted them to be safe.
One of the coyotes headed to the sidewalk and street curb, with the obvious intention of crossing the street. Four years ago, this very coyote was hit by a car and remained lame for over a month: she healed on her own. She learned from her experience and now plans her crossings carefully.
She stood there, hidden on one side by trees and by a parked car. Cars, their headlights on, passed by pretty consistently. When there was no car in view, she used her ears to get a sense of how safe it was, and when a person walked by, she hid behind a tree and was not seen. She kept waiting as cars continued to come by. Obviously, in her experience, this would not be a good time to cross. She turned around and went up the hill and disappeared from my view instead of crossing the street.
The camera has compensated for the dim light in these photos: in fact, the coyotes blended into the background and were difficult to see in the dark.
21 Jan 2013 1 Comment
Coyotes always get a bad rap. Their crime often is simply having been seen. And when coyotes are in the area, the finger always points to them.
For two weeks in a row, these garbage cans were found tipped over with trash all over the street. Were the local coyotes the culprits? It turns out, no! In fact, coyotes, are not into garbage cans very often. They prefer doing their own hunting.
Anyway, it was fun recording this with an infrared night-vision camera, or trap camera, made specifically for this purpose. The camera will take still photos or videos when the heat of a warm body triggers them. This here is a short section of an all-night video clip. The coyotes returned to the garbage throughout the night from about 10pm to 4am. It’s a little too long to watch, but the key points are at 15 seconds, when the raccoons pull the trash can down, at 1:03 minutes when someone picks it up, and at 1:36 when the raccoons pull it down again.
10 Jan 2013 Leave a Comment
RELEVANT BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Although coyotes for the most part stick to the shadows, it is not unusual to see one out during the daytime, on park trails, or on the streets. They like grassy fields where they can hunt, and they like woodsy areas where they can take refuge. At times they may pass through our backyards. These are within the range of normal coyote behavior. We might ask, “Don’t they know they should stay in a park and out of sight?” But how could they possibly know OUR boundaries? Remember that humans delineate their “boundaries” very differently from coyotes: we use physical and visual boundaries which have meaning for us, such as fences and streets, whereas coyotes use olfactory ones which they create by “marking” or “urinating” along their territory’s periphery. Most of the time when you see a coyote, it will be hunting in a field for gophers, or just passing through. Most of the time, when a coyote sees you, it will flee or keep far away. If a coyote is minding its own business, we try to leave them alone.
What attracts coyotes to many areas is food of any type. Coyotes are known as “opportunistic” eaters — they eat what is available. You will be inviting them into your yard if you leave out any kind of food, including pet food. They also eat small rodents such as raccoons and skunks or anything that looks like them. You will be contributing to the food chain if you leave your small pet outside and unattended. It is best to remove all attractants from your yard — this is passive medicine.
Shooing Off a Coyote In A Chance Encounter or From Your Yard
If a coyote comes within 30-50 feet of you, it will most likely be just an unexpected chance encounter, with both of you wanting to avoid each other. Coyotes are curious and may stop to observe. Most of the time yelling or stamping your foot is enough to make the coyote hurry away — this works most of the time with most coyotes. Tossing a small stone in the coyote’s direction — but not directly at it so as to injure it — will also cause the coyote to distance itself. Do remember that coyotes seldom if ever approach people: you are bigger and brighter than they are and they know this. It is only a chance encounter which might bring you closer than expected. Conflict with you is something they do not want to engage in. However, if you have a dog with you, the situation changes — coyotes and dogs generally don’t like each other because they are competitors for the territory.
SHOOING ‘EM OFF MORE FIRMLY
How to Shoo Off A Coyote More Firmly From Your Dog
There might come a time when you’ll want to shoo away a coyote immediately and unconditionally. If possible, you should always try walking away from an adversarial or potential adversarial situation — but don’t run as this might incite a chase. This should be your option of choice for many reasons, especially during pupping season or when there are pups around. It is best not to confront a coyote during these times because, like all parents, it will defend its young. However, you should shoo off a coyote if it is decisively approaching your dog, or if it has come into your yard where you have pets. The presence of the human alpha around any pet is important for keeping coyotes away from your pet.
My Preferred Method
One of the best ways to show a coyote that his proximity is not welcome is a multi-sensory one: take a folded newspaper and slam it aggressively, repeatedly and dramatically on your thigh as you walk decisively towards the coyote, locking your gaze on his, and yelling “Shoo! Off With You!”. The combination of the aggressively wide and big slapping movements, the loud slapping noise, your angry voice, the locked gaze, and walking decisively towards the coyote will show him 1) that you are directing this “attack” towards him and 2) you mean what you say. There is a caveat here: you MUST make the coyote move back substantially — in other words, you must “win”, otherwise the coyote could become resistant over time and he will think that you are just crying wolf. It may take a couple of repeats for a coyote to “get it”, but they do remember and will start fleeing upon seeing you. A periodic, but milder, reminder of your ferociousness will help maintain what you have taught. In any particular area, it will be the same coyotes which you encounter — they are strongly tied to their territories, and milder “reinforcement” might be needed occasionally in the future.
Technique Pointers for Firmly Shooing Off a Coyote Needs Practice & Repetition
Your “intervention” should be no-nonsense and appear confrontational. If you want the coyote to remember, you’re going to have to make the event memorable for him: throw a real conniption. Coyotes read body language. It’s all about bluffing — your bluff must be bigger than theirs. And it’s a mind set: you want to turn the tables from defense to offense mode. We all need to practice being adversarial/aggressive a little to become effective: it might help to watch someone do it to give you the swing of it. Knowledge and practice of this technique will give you confidence even if you never may have to use it.
Quick Summary For Shooing Off Coyotes
- Use only if walking away isn’t working and
- Don’t use during pupping season, March-August, when parent MUST defend their young.
- DO use if a coyote is decisively approaching your dog.
- Be as OFFENSIVE as possible
- slap a newspaper on your thigh loudly and dramatically
- walk decisively towards the coyote
- fixing your gaze on the coyote’s eyes — so that he’ll know it’s no mistake but him you are targetting
- angrily raise your voice and shout “Scat!” “Shoo!” “Off With You!”
- Make sure to force the coyote to move back — to claim you’ve won
14 Sep 2012 2 Comments
Hey! Slapping a folded newspaper against your thigh as you walk assertively toward a coyote with your eyes fixed on him is one of the best techniques I’ve found for shooing off a coyote who may have gotten too close for your comfort. A newspaper section can easily be folded over once or twice and carried in your pocket.
In fact, it’s not just the sharp noise which serves to deter. It’s also the flailing motion of slapping that paper against your leg which is important. It’s very aggressive. The coyote actually sees you hitting something, and that this hitting is coming his way — the coyote knows he’s next. And the bigger the flailing motion, the better. Tossing a small stone in their direction — but not at them — you don’t want to cause an injury — also works well.
Coyotes will flee as a human approaches them — but slapping a newspaper or tossing a small stone will nudge them on faster, and may make you feel more confident and in control.
24 May 2012 15 Comments
Hi Janet — Late this morning, I am positive that I heard 2-3 coyote pups signing to each other behind our yard and the neighbors. Either way, this feels a little bit too close for comfort. They sounded maybe 50 or 75 yards away. It was definitely not the sound of average puppies… the only way I could describe it was like warbly singing, with crying yips.
Also, when I took my dog out back earlier this morning, I found fresh dog urine right next to the house — I was perplexed at the time because our yard isn’t accessible from the street, only from the back of the hill. But now after hearing the puppies, I think that one of them was in our yard.
I appreciate the majesty of coyotes, but I wonder if it’s safe to be outside with a den so close. And I worry about my dog, too, even though he is never ever unattended in the yard. My dog is large and old, but he’s still quite fiesty with other big dogs. I’m not sure how aggressive things might get with coyotes around.
I also have a large vegetable garden that goes straight up toward where I heard the pups. The garden is watered at night and morning — is it safe for me to be out there during puppy season? The top of our garden is really only about 15 yards away from where I heard them.
Sorry for the long note, but wildlife is not my expertise. My boyfriend chuckles because I run away when the trio of raccoons comes into the yard. I’m starting to feel a little trapped in the house…
Do you have any advice on safety? I would be grateful if you do…
I don’t think there is a den there. I know the coyotes that roam that area and they did not have pups. Coyotes, when they greet each other, have a very high pitched, puppy-sounding squeal — what you describe as “warbly singing with crying yips” — which often is mistaken for puppies. Please listen to recordings #2 and #5 on the Urbanwildness.com site: http://www.urbanwildness.com/urbanwildness.com/Coyote_Howling.html. There are more recordings on CoyoteYipps.com.
Please know that you are totally safe — coyotes do not care to deal with humans: you are bigger and smarter than they are, and they know it. Dogs are sometimes another story: coyotes are very territorial towards dogs, the same as they are with non-resident, interloper coyotes. If your dog is always attended out of doors, there should be no problem. If you, for any reason, need to scare a coyote away, make noise and throw a threatening caniption to let the coyote know that you really mean that you don’t want him around. If you want hands-on help to show you how to feel safe around coyotes, let me know. And feel free to contact me about any coyote issues which you are worried about. Please let me know if this has been at all helpful. Sincerely, Janet
PS: If it does happen to be a den area, I would be extremely surprised. It would mean that coyotes are there within another coyote’s territory. There is a female I’ve been following — an interloper — but I have not seen her with a male companion — she seems to be a loner. Whenever she is detected by the area’s resident coyotes, they drive her out. And, if there indeed is a den, you would continue to hear these coyote puppy sounds very frequently — probably every night. Please keep me posted! Janet
Thanks, Janet! Your letter makes me feel better already. So helpful!
I was on your site for hours after I wrote you. Your photography is incredibly special. One of my housemates also heard the ‘song’ this morning and so together we listened to your amazing sound clips! We agreed that what we heard was a little different, so we found a clip on youtube that sounded most like what we had in the back yard, but our visitors sounded a little bit slower and more like they were calling to each other yard-to-yard. Here it is: http://youtu.be/xsQRNBm4_z4.
Really it was an amazing experience hearing that this morning, and if I wasn’t such a nervous-nellie then I probably would’ve thought to get my iphone memo recorder out (Next time I will record it, if there is a next time. . .)
Just thinking of it now — but there have been a couple nights in the last two weeks when it sounded like the raccoons might be fighting with a dog outside — there was that wet-snarly sound, growling, and a lot of screeching on the part of the raccoons. I wonder if that’s your area’s interloper?
I have to say, I have such respect for the wild life up here…to me, all dogs are angels on this earth, including and especially our native coyote friends. I will definitely write to you again if I hear or see anything. I’ll keep a journal, too. My desk faces the steep slope of our yard and I’ve got a great view on both sides — if I see anything you will be the first to know.
Very best! Jo
PS: About your breath-taking video of Myca trying to play with your dog…you raised the most patient, loving, and well behaved dog that ever walked the earth. What a special day that must have been!
Hi Jo –
Thank you for this wonderful email! Glad you liked the sites, but I’m especially happy that you are thrilled about your visitors!!
The coyotes may be in the area in hopes of snagging one of the young raccoons that you’ve been seeing. The growling you heard may have been a coyote confronting the mom raccoon — that may be why the coyotes are hanging around. It’s part of nature, even if it results in heartbreak. Yes, please keep a journal! Janet
PS: On the you-tube video, those are not puppies, they are adults — that is what they sound like. Janet
They just came back to sing! It’s a kind of quiet recording because my volume was a little low, I will try to do better next time. I can’t believe they are here again!!! Same spot, too! High pitched greeting could be mistaken for puppies
Hi Jo –
Yep, that’s the greeting! Very exciting!! Thank you so much for sending this to me! Their behavior is quite different lately and I’m trying to figure out why. Also, if you do get a photo, let me know. I’ll probably be able to identify them if you get a face-on shot — their faces are as different as humans once you get to know them. If you want, I can give you a brief biography of them!
I would love it if you could keep me posted on your “coyote adventure”. And, would it be all right if I posted this on the blog? Let me know! And I look forward to hearing more! Janet
I am SO sorry to bombard you with emails today, but I realize the audio recording I sent you earlier was from another email account and I didn’t even sign my name. I am just so excited to have heard the coyotes again that I’m bumbling on simple social graces.
I am re-attaching the audio so I can be sure you receive it, and also attaching a photo of the garden with notations of where the coyotes seemed to be when they sang.
I am feeling a little protective over them now, just thinking that there might be a den — I hope the neighbors choose to leave them be, as I am. They are one of the most thrilling things I’ve ever heard in my life! Thank you for writing to me earlier, and for sharing your experiences on your website. I feel so much more at ease about my new ‘neighbors’. Because of you, Janet, I am officially in AWE of these animals! I will keep a journal of their howling schedule for your reference, too. Thank you for sharing this amazing experience with me. Maybe we will have a chance to meet sometime depending on whether I continue to hear them singing! I think you might have some new coyotes in this area to photograph!
Hi Jo –
You are not bombarding me, I’m thrilled about this, too! Please don’t get exciting about pups — I don’t think there are any. Coyotes would never den in a garden where you work. I think they’re there because they’ve found the raccoon. That is my hunch. But let’s see how it plays out. And yes, if it does turn out to be a den, I would not tell anyone — that’s the safest thing to do, and I will keep your secret! And, yes, hope to meet you sometime! Janet
Hi Janet, The coyote experience has been incredible today! Young and old…they are magnificent. I hope it continues! You’re wonderful, Janet,
Hi Jo –
If I post your stuff I would not specify where it is — best to keep location vague. Notice that none of my postings specify place. The point is the story: that you were a little apprehensive, that you thought it might be pups and finally that you were thrilled and even got a recording. Thanks, Jo! Janet
The strangest thing happened yesterday…our wildlife ‘regulars’ returned to the yard. I realize I didn’t tell you that many of them had been m.i.a for a week, including the three raccoons. I truly thought my beloved Scrub Jays had been eaten by the raccoons. The Jays had been nesting in our yard, and since last week, I saw only one just hopping from high-spot to high-spot looking for the others. One day it even flew directly into my window! This is extremely bizarre behavior for our Jays, and I was totally horrified to see it distressed. BUT…late yesterday afternoon, the Jays came back AND in broad daylight one of the raccoons wandered through the yard…also very unusual. The raccoon might have been limping, but hard to tell. I do worry about the other two raccoons now…they were thick as thieves. I also hate to think of any creature alone in the world.
I bet you were right to say that it has been hunting (not a den) that brought the coyotes here.
Meantime, I’ve still got my audio recorder on the desk, just in case….