Introducing My Coyote Yipps Blog

I began this blog as an extension of my website. My urbanwildness website is about celebrating and protecting wildlife in and around our San Francisco urban setting. It is an advocacy website with no other purpose than to show how fantastic it is to have this wildlife right here in a city and to ask that everyone respect it. Our coyotes lead rich lives, full of emotion — the same emotions we experience — and full of family life — the same family life we enjoy. They are not aggressive, but some of their behaviors are geared for survival purposes, such as defending themselves and their families from dogs. Dogs can be seen by coyotes as a threat to their very survival. Dogs chasing them have been a major issue which we have the ability to control. The other major issue is keeping them wild — for their, and our own safety. Fortunately most of us know that “a fed coyote is a dead coyote,” a phrase coined by Mary Paglieri, a wildlife conflict manager  of the Little Blue Society. Coyotes who are fed may become aggressive towards humans and then have to be eliminated.

My intention is to reveal the animals through photos so that we all can appreciate them. I try to explain their behaviors so that you can understand them if you come across one — mine are first-hand observations. I want everyone to know that this wildlife is here, but I do not advertise locations.  Revealing locations would defeat all of my intentions and what I care most about. The coyotes and their quality of life comes first for me. Stress is caused by dogs chasing them and by a constant stream of noisy people, especially during the pupping season which is long: April through October or so. Mating season precedes this, and this also is a stressful time sometimes for them. These animals don’t need to be on show as if they were in a zoo or part of a safari.

It seems to me that the point is to explore and discover the environment — our area has fabulous parks and open spaces and neighborhoods. If you get out and explore the environment and then glimpse the wildlife that goes along with it, you will be learning more and feeling much more satisfaction than if you drive to a single location without exploring its context — that would be too much like going to the zoo.

Our Department of Animal Care and Control has this same policy of not revealing where the animals are — not only for protecting the animals, but for protecting humans who often want to feed or pet wild animals without knowing or understanding the danger they are putting themselves and everyone else into.

With my Urbanwildness website, I realized that photos alone were not adequately capturing the intelligent behaviors I wanted to depict, nor, of course, the thoughts that occurred to me as I observed. So I began the blog. The postings don’t necessarily depict what is going on at the time they were posted. This is because often I have several things to post, and have decided to “spread” the postings out over a period of time. Also, I often think of behaviors with photos that occurred long ago, so these will be inserted nowhere close to the time they occurred.

Mine are observations that occur as they occur, and their randomness might tell more and be of more interest than an organized approach — however, I now have organized my postings into topic groupings, which might make it easier to find what you are looking for: TOPIC GROUPINGS of POSTINGS.  Suggestions are welcome, always. Also, for a quick look at urban coyote family lie, take a look at Urban Coyotes Have Lives, published in WildCare’s February 2011 Newsletter. Thank you for listening!  Janet

About me: Please see article in The New York Times which appeared on March 14, 2010: Taking Walks on the Wild Side. And see the AP article which appeared all over the country on March 11 through 13th, 2011. I’ve linked to NBC News:  San Francisco Residents Learn to Coexist With Urban Coyotes. A Coyote Whisperer for Urban Coyotes, by Joel Engardio in the San Francisco Examiner, 2014. Janet Kessler: The urban coyote watcher by Leath Tonino in High Country News, 2015, Coyote Town: Leave SF’s Coyotes Alone, by Julia Carrie Wong in SFWeekly, September 9, 2015.

130 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Carter Manning Wade
    Mar 04, 2010 @ 17:05:38

    Great blog cuz! Love it!!


  2. RKB
    Jun 30, 2010 @ 04:21:46

    Thanks for doing this… it’s an excellent blog. I hadn’t realized there were so many coyotes in San Francisco.


    • janet
      Jun 30, 2010 @ 05:51:55

      Glad you like the blog — I enjoy working on it. Actually, there are not so many coyotes, but they can be seen sporadically in most of the area’s parks.


  3. Jennifer
    Jul 02, 2010 @ 02:23:11

    I love this blog! I have sighted a coyote many times not in SF but in Sausalito down in the shipyards. I want everyone to know about coyotes and their important role in eating the pests we have been unsuccessful at getting rid of- rats. Many people I talk to have the first reaction of horror and fear when I talk to them about urban coyotes, and I want to change that. More information is necessary, and the word on how mange can effect coyote behavior is part of that. Please please put more up about Rosie, as I think her story is quite compelling and wonderful.


    • janet
      Jul 02, 2010 @ 04:03:01

      Hi Jennifer — Thank you for your comments! I’m so pleased that you like the blog! I’ve ordered Skip Haynes’ book on Rosie Coyote. I may write something up about it after I read it, but you may want to order the book yourself. You can order it from the Rosie Coyote website. Yes, people’s initial reaction to coyotes in urban areas is often negative. We all need to change that in whatever way we can. People often have a tendency to perpetuate negative sensationalist hearsay rather than look at the reality. With my blog I’m trying to show what is really going on, accentuating the stuff we can relate to. Please keep me posted on your own efforts. Thank you again for writing. Janet


      Mar 17, 2011 @ 00:28:49



      • yipps
        Mar 17, 2011 @ 06:24:30

        Hi Richard — Your situation is a contradictory one because you are attempting to keep the cats wild, yet you are taking care of them. When wild animals are taken care of and fed, they lose some of the acuteness that they would otherwise be utterly dependent upon for survival. The cats may have lost the edge they had for hunting, but in fact they still do need it for escaping from predators. I admire that you care about these cats, but I’m wondering if your efforts are dulling the sharpness that they need for survival in the wild. I really don’t know — this is only a thought. From what I’ve seen, coyotes’ preferred food source is small and easy to capture rodents like voles and gophers. The wild is about survival. Pets, of course, always need to be protected from predators — these animals have lost their ability to protect themselves in the wild. Nature can be cruel, but it also is balanced, to prevent things even more terrible than death such as starvation and suffering and disease. Different animals keeping down other animal populations is an important part of that balancing in the wild.

      • Mary Paglieri
        Jul 18, 2012 @ 21:22:55

        Hello Richard Pepper,

        Re: protecting your feral cats from predation:

        – Raccoons will not harm your cats – I have seen them respectfully taking turns eating at feeding stations. And they do keep a safe distance from each other.

        However, coyotes and bobcats are a different story. As Janet said, your kitties are now a part of the “food-chain.” You may lose one from time to time, but there are ways you can help them escape from predators:

        1. I like to use “escape tunnels.” PVC tubing works best. It must be at least 6 feet in length, and the opening around 12 inches – wide enough to accommodate the largest kitty , but not so small that they can get stuck. You can paint the tubes to blend in with the environment and strategically place them in bushes along the path that the kitties use, or areas that you’ve seen them scatter to, when startled.

        2. The tubes must be wedged on either side by heavy concrete blocks (can be bought from the gardening department at Home Depot), to keep it stationary, otherwise the tubes will roll.

        3. Introduce the escape tubes to your colony, by placing a little bit of wet food inside the tunnel, to pique their interest.

        4. Check the tubes frequently to make sure no animals are stuck in them. Call the Peninsula Humane Society for help to remove any stuck animals. (650) 340-8200 – ask to speak with a dispatcher.

        The opening of the tube will not be large enough to accommodate a coyote or bobcat. The kitties can find a safe haven in the tubes, until the predator loses interest and moves on.

        Please let us know how it goes…

        Best – Mary

      • Mary
        Aug 15, 2013 @ 17:59:46

        I live in Sausalito, just up from the houseboats on Gate 5 Road, and we have lost five cats (including mine) in the past two months to coyotes. Prior to this, I had only heard of the Mill Valley cats being killed by coyotes, but they are now in Sausalito, so if you live in Sausalito, PROTECT YOUR CATS!!!

      • yipps
        Aug 15, 2013 @ 18:45:04

        Yes! We need to protect our small pets from many dangers: Please don’t allow your pets to roam free!

        I’m so sorry you’ve lost your cats. However, coyotes are not the culprit for all cat losses, though a finger is always pointed at them. Cats are lossed to many causes, including their simply running away, going off to die alone, being hit by cars, a variety of predators including dogs and raccoons, and coyotes, etc.

        That being said, we need to protect our cats: it is irresponsible for anyone to allow their cat or small pet of any sort to roam free. The culprit is the cat’s owner for not looking after and protecting their pet, not the coyote who doesn’t discriminate between a pet and any other prey they might find. Please take a look at the CoyoteCoexistence.Com video which explains what you need to know to coexist with coyotes:

  4. Trackback: Making Wildlife Into Vermin « Save Mount Sutro Forest
  5. milliontrees
    Jul 20, 2010 @ 19:38:44

    I was introduced to your blog through the savesutro blog, which I visit frequently. I was delighted by your recent comment on the savesutro blog about how we would all benefit from leaving nature alone to be whatever it is going to be. I agree with you that man does more harm than good when we presume to know better than nature.

    I invite you to my blog to see many examples in the San Francisco Bay Area of the harmful effects such presumption.


    • janet
      Jul 20, 2010 @ 20:56:34

      Hi MillionTrees: Thank you for writing in response to my comments on the Save Sutro Forest Site. I visited your blog, Milliontrees, as you invited me to do. Your site is fabulous: the right ideas along with all sorts of interesting angles. The ideas expressed here are exactly the same as mine: we are definite allies. I’ve added your blog to my site: we need to get more information out and increase access to it. Let me know if there is more I can do. Sincerely, Janet


  6. Todd
    Jul 23, 2010 @ 17:41:45

    Thanks for a wonderful site. Your readers should know that groups that would like to see the Mt. Sutro forest destroyed thereby displacing and jeopardizing thousands of animals (actually a certain, agonizing and painful death) recruit their followers from all over the Bay Area to attend the UCSF community meetings to support the destruction of the forest. They claim they are part of the “community.” Well–animal lovers are part of the community, too!

    I live adjacent to the forest and have seen first hand the delightful animal that come out at night. I have witnessed coyotes, racoons, possums, skunks, owls, and many other species out of my window. What a privilege to share the space without any problem.

    We need all of the help we can get. Please urge follow animal lovers to attend the upcoming UCSF “community” meeting to counter the numbers of those whom seek to destroy the forest. The meeting is Monday, July 26th, at 6:30 pm., Millberry Union Conference Center located at 500 Parnassus Ave., San Francisco.

    I have spoken and commented at past meetings about the animals which have come to call home the Mt. Sutro forest after 120 years of a slowly developed ecosystem existing as an island in the City. However, UCSF and its other supporters of the forest’s destruction have ignored my concerns and think nothing of an immediate destruction of precious habitat supporting so much wildlife. I hope others share my concern. Thanks for your consideration.


  7. Save Sutro
    Sep 02, 2010 @ 02:34:56

    Love the new look of your website/ blog. I realized only on a second look that the background is actually a picture of a coyote family.


  8. yipps
    Sep 02, 2010 @ 03:47:14

    Thank you!! I appreciate your feedback. Your reaction to the background was perfect: requiring a second look to register what it actually is. I guess you could call this coyote saturation!


  9. Heather
    Sep 16, 2010 @ 18:21:25

    Found your website while trying to research coyote behavior. We are regularly observing some very interesting behavior in our backyard (Sierra Foothills). I would love to know if anyone else has observed a coyotes burying rocks. This particular coyote carried a large rock (about 7″ x 4″) from some distant location and then buried it in the ground(!). The coyote did all of this in a very casual and deliberate manner. After placing the rock in the hole, the coyote covered it completely by pushing dirt with its nose. Then it walked away. Can anyone explain this?


    • Charles Wood
      Sep 17, 2010 @ 20:23:35

      I haven’t seen a coyote bury a rock. Perhaps the coyote you observed perceived the rock as having value and wanted to save it for later. Perhaps it was a form of play. How do they decide ‘good object’/’good place’???? It is entertaining to read about. Perhaps the rock was a good object because another coyote had wanted it, like Janet’s two arguing over a ball; or perhaps it had an attractive smell. A good place? Are there places to hide good objects that others would either respect or not find? I say jokingly: apprently not! Now we all know where to find that coyote’s rock!


  10. yipps
    Sep 16, 2010 @ 18:48:05

    Hi Heather —

    The rock burial is absolutely fascinating!! I have seen a coyote bury a just-killed gopher which was then retrieved by the coyote within a couple of days, and I have seen a coyote bury an old dry snake, but I have never seen what you describe here. It sounds like your rock might have been the same size as a gopher or another small animal? Maybe it even had some strong animal smells on it? I cannot offer an explanation, but it is fascinating to know about, and maybe the “rhyme and reason” of the behavior will eventually surface. I would love to hear any more interesting animal behavior you have been able to observe. Thank you!


  11. Fred Markson
    Nov 03, 2010 @ 19:54:17

    In addition to “a fed coyote is a dead coyote” you might want to add that “a socialized coyote is a dead coyote.”

    It’s imperative that we keep them wild, by keeping them healthily afraid of humans. If they lose their fear, they will eventually lose their lives.


    • yipps
      Nov 04, 2010 @ 02:17:52

      Yes. Peaceful coexistence entails keeping coyotes as naturally wild as possible. Any form of interaction with coyotes needs to be avoided.  Fortunately coyotes are not interested in humans — coyotes have never approached humans in San Francisco Area urban parks. However, feeding is the one factor that could alter this balance which is why I concentrate on this.

      In urban settings, there is inevitably going to be a certain amount of habituation: coyotes have become used to seeing dogs and walkers, and they therefore are out in the open more. But the goal is to minimize any interactions with coyotes. It is the interaction which is harmful.

      The main form of interaction going on in our parks is that between dogs and coyotes which always brings humans into the picture. Keeping dog interactions from occurring will help. 


  12. linda
    Dec 30, 2010 @ 08:00:10

    Just love this site.


  13. Daren R. Sefcik
    Feb 26, 2011 @ 16:07:01

    Great website, thank you for posting such great information about coyotes in our urban areas. I too have a nearby canyon where I walk my dog and he is crazy for chasing them, I can no longer walk him off leash because of it. I have been photographing a slightly different angle of them then you have. In my canyon I have seen over the years the remnants of what they eat. Some of it is quite disturbing, small dog and cat carcasses, skunks, rabbits and even large birds like Herons. I have not read thru all of your posts yet but wonder if you have touched on this topic of coyotes living in our urban areas and how they survive by feeding on our trash, pets and any other means.

    Some of the pictures from my canyon are here:


    • yipps
      Feb 26, 2011 @ 21:06:53

      Hi Daren —

      Glad you like the website! What you have found is probably very normal. Unless you actually see a coyote killing an animal, you cannot assume that is what happened in all instances just because he is eating it. Coyotes are just as likely to have found some of these animals already dead, having been hit by a car, killed by dogs or died in some other manner, even of natural causes. Remember that coyotes are known for eating carrion — dead animals that they have found. Their scavenging is one of the ways nature cleans up after itself. Nonetheless, they have been known to take cats and small dogs. This is why in areas where there are coyotes, it is irresponsible for owners not to safeguard their pets by keeping them indoors and leashed when walking them.

      I myself have only seen coyotes eat small rodents: voles and gophers and rats. I’ve also seen them eat raccoon — I assumed this to be carrion because it was right next to a road — raccoons are fierce fighters, so this would not be the preferred choice for a coyote if easier meals are available. People have told me they’ve seen coyotes by trashcans, and I know plastic bags have been found in their scat — so this does happen. But, again, this would not be their first choice. Studies of their scat confirm that the overwhelming part of their diet consists of small rodents, which they consume entirely. Their presence in urban areas is being found to occur not because of human presence there, but in spite of it, as found by Professor Stan Gehrt.

      I would love to hear more from you — either about this food issue, or anything else you find about urban coyotes. Some readers have actually posted their observations on the site so that everyone can read about them. Let me know if you would like to do so.


    • Greg
      Mar 16, 2011 @ 07:10:52

      Good photos.
      It is disturbing and sad to see the cats and dogs that have been killed. For me, that does not translate into a desire to get rid of coyotes.
      I keep my cats strictly indoors. It’s more work for me, but they’re healthy and enjoying life.


      • Daren R. Sefcik
        Mar 17, 2011 @ 03:01:22

        As the author of this site pointed out to me (and I completely agree) is that some of the killed animals I have photos of may just be “second hand” kills…meaning a dog or cat may have strayed into the street and was struck by a car (or other similar non coyote related accident) and the coyotes simply take advantage of it. I have seen the hawks swoop down and grab rabbits, pick out what they want and drop the remaining carcass in the fields and the coyotes may also utilize that as a food source. My intention was not to suggest that coyotes are domestic pet killers. They are (in my observations) mostly curious and stay to themselves unless threatened and only want to live peacefully like the rest of us.

        Wonderful blog….

  14. Trackback: Twilight adventure in golden gate park: Raccoons and Janet Kessler « FOREST KNOLLS
  15. Wendy
    Mar 05, 2011 @ 18:34:04

    I love your blog and am looking forward to learning more about urban coyotes. On the few occasions that I’ve seen them, I’ve always felt incredibly lucky. I hope their habitat is being preserved in Mt. Sutro, I know that the UC has been doing some heavy construction in the area. I’ve also always loved the role of the coyote in Native American storytelling as well. And anyone who eats rodents is alright by me. I just hope people are getting more and more educated about not using poison to control rodents… Anyway, thanks again!


  16. Carolyn G. Foland
    Mar 13, 2011 @ 03:04:40

    Just discovered this blog. Very interesting and great pictures. I grew up on a farm in Kansas where coyotes were a part of the wildlife. They were a danger to the smaller or vulnerable farm animals but were more heard than seen. Mostly nocturnal visits, especially to chicken houses.


    • yipps
      Mar 13, 2011 @ 03:26:17

      Small farm animals are as much “food” to coyotes as they are to us — the idea of ownership is understood differently. I can imagine the precautions you had to take to keep your farm animals safe — I hope not many were taken. I’m happy that you accepted coyotes as part of the surrounding wildlife. In urban areas we don’t have these same problems. However, small pets have to be protected, for the same reason.


  17. Susan 916
    Mar 13, 2011 @ 21:45:51

    We lived in Arizona a few years and its very common to have Coyotes around. In Tuscon, in the middle of town by city hall I seen one crossing the street also. And I never seen a single stray cat or dog out there.
    In Nevada at the ski resorts Coyotes walk through the parking lot and never bother the people there, nor did they in AZ.
    Our pets need to be leashed when off our property at all times except in enclosed dog parks, it would avoid allot of dog fights and getting in trouble or getting lost!
    We need to understand we share this earth and not destroy everything that does not suit us at that moment. S.F. is lucky there is a little wildlife left.


    • yipps
      Mar 13, 2011 @ 22:06:40

      Hi Susan,

      Thank you for writing! I appreciate your comments and I totally agree with what you say. Dogs need to be leashed when there are coyotes around. I’ve never seen coyotes bother people, either. And yes, we need to share the earth — even if it doesn’t suit us, as you say — it does not belong to us alone. I do feel extremely lucky that there is still wildlife in and around San Francisco! Thank you for supporting coyotes. Janet


  18. Ben
    Mar 15, 2011 @ 23:43:41

    You are doing an excellent thing here, DO NOT ever let anyone tell you different. I completely agree that seeing these beautiful animals out an about is just invigorating! It is US who came along and paved up THEIR home and habitat, not the other way around, and its amazing that these creatures are finding a way to adapt. Your pictures are amazing. Keep it up!


  19. Am Chandler
    Mar 16, 2011 @ 01:29:46

    Great photography and great blog! Keep up all of your great work on behalf of God’s Dog! Also, thank you for posting a link to my website.


    • yipps
      Mar 16, 2011 @ 02:41:02

      And thank you, Amy, for your own wonderful photography! Photography is a great tool for building understanding and acceptance of wildlife. I’m so pleased we share these goals! Janet


  20. molly
    Mar 16, 2011 @ 11:43:18

    beautiful blog. i found it on Yahoo news and am very fascinated by the coyotes in San Francisco that I did not know about before. I do agree that we need to leash our dogs for the safety of these beautiful creatures. If no harm is done FROM them, Why should we cause harm TO them? Beautiful blog, again. :)


  21. Out Walking the Dog
    Jun 06, 2011 @ 17:49:59

    Fascinating blog. I too am fascinated by urban wildlife. In my case, I track and write about NYC, where I live. In February 2010, we had coyotes spotted right here in Manhattan, one of which (a young female) took up residence for about a month in a tiny nature sanctuary in Central Park. It eventually wandered down to Tribeca, where it was trapped, evaluated and released into an undiscolosed location. I went down to the area of the park several times at dusk and was lucky enough to see the coyote – a beautiful bit of wildness in the midst of the most urban of cities.

    A friend in L.A. recently had an unusual experience with a young coyote that might interest you. She wrote about it (and posted photos and video) on her blog: I’d love to know your take on the video of the coyote.


    • yipps
      Jun 07, 2011 @ 02:43:47

      Hi —

      Thank you for your comments and input. Your friend’s experience in Los Angeles is fascinating. I’ve never heard of a coyote following a human and then barking like that. It may have to do with the feeding which he saw. I do know, and you might let him know, that “a fed coyote is a dead coyote”, meaning that fed coyotes eventually turn to begging aggressively and then have to be put down. Best never to feed any coyote ever. As for relocating a coyote — this can be a death sentence for a coyote and is illegal in my area. I wonder why the policy is different in New York. I would love to republish your friend’s encounter on the yipps blog — do you think he might be willing to do this? Janet


      • Out Walking the Dog
        Jun 07, 2011 @ 12:55:13

        Hi, Janet. I forwarded your request to my friend in L.A. You might want to leave a comment on her blog post as well, if you haven’t already done so. I’ve subsribed to your blog and look forward to following your posts.

      • yipps
        Jun 07, 2011 @ 16:41:02

        Thank you so much! Yes, I will comment on her blog as you suggest. Glad you like the yipps blog! Janet

  22. Charlotte Hildebrand
    Jun 07, 2011 @ 17:21:04

    Hi Janet, fantastic urban wildlife blog and pics. Please feel free to republish my post about the coyote in Los Angeles being fed by my neighbor that outwalkingthedog mentions. The coyote section starts halfway down, and also, if you click on the word “toddler,” you will be directed to an earlier post about the same coyote as it was last year napping in the canyon. I worry about this little fellow, as it appears to be totally dependent on the food it gets from my neighbor’s abundant table—along with the skunks, raccoons, crows and ferrel cats—although the coyote has a special dining area just for him/her(?). I have talked to this neighbor before about feeding wildlife (I didn’t know or was in denial that she was feeding the coyote until this recent post), and she does not understand, or care, that what she’s doing is harmful; in her head she’s “helping.” As you can see in the video, the coyote must have taken me for an interloper, and found its way behind my house and started barking at me. I would really appreciate any input or experience you or anyone else has had on how to talk to someone like my neighbor to stop the behavior, short of calling the authorities, which I will do if pressed. Again my post is at:
    Thanks! Charlotte


    • yipps
      Jun 07, 2011 @ 18:42:51

      I really appreciate your letting me republish your article — it’s great writing!

      It is very difficult to talk to people about changing their ways with animals. You might gently let Thea know that “a fed coyote is a dead coyote”, that coyotes often turn around and “bite the hand that feeds them”. You can explain this in terms of shark behavior: Scuba divers often go down to see sharks, protected by metal cages. When on the ocean floor, they encounter sharks and actually feed them — often hand feed them. The problem is that this trains the sharks that around humans, there is food. What happens next is that the sharks begin aggressively demanding food from other unsuspecting divers who then encounter extremely aggressive sharks. The same is true of coyotes. Once coyotes become aggressive, they are almost always put down. Let Thea know that she is actually helping the coyote more by not feeding it.

      If this doesn’t work, there is a woman who is great with this kind of stuff. Her name is Mary Pagliery. We possibly could get her to call Thea. She is part of an organization called She is very soft-spoken, and was recommended to me by humane societies in this area specifically to solve this type of coexistence problem. Let me know if you would like to go this route and I’ll try to help.


  23. Charlotte Hildebrand
    Jun 07, 2011 @ 19:25:45

    Thanks Janet, I left you a reply on my blog, more in detail, but want you to know I appreciate the useful info, and also the scoop on Mary Pagliery, if for nothing else, it’s a fascinating subject—human-animal conflict resolution. Wow!

    I will be following your blog, and also updating you on what happens. Wish me luck, and thanks, Charlotte


  24. Mary Paglieri
    Jun 08, 2011 @ 07:36:24

    Hi Charlotte,

    It’s Mary Paglieri, Little Blue Society. Janet called my attention to your current issue with your neighbor. I’m a human-animal conflict consultant with a background in animal behavior. I’ve worked with coyotes for over a decade, studying their natural behavior and also using techniques to modify the behavior of coyotes that have acclimated to humans and human-use areas.

    I read your post and watched the video on your blog. My comments are as follows:
    – Coyotes bark when they are alarmed – the vocalizations show this adolescent was quite fearful of your presence. Aggression is a fear-based response, so please do not approach this coyote again.
    – It’s a young, healthy animal, and is most likely hunting as well as coming around for the supplemental feeding. This would indicate one of two things: It is either not finding an adequate amount of natural prey and needs the “help” to get through this season. Or it is an orphaned coyote that is not a proficient hunter – yet.
    – Patience is the best policy in dealing with coyote issues such as this. If Animal Control is called, no doubt, this coyote will be trapped and destroyed. Given time, this coyote will leave on it’s own, regardless of whether your neighbor is leaving food or not. Coyotes mature quickly, and it is impossible to “erase” their natural instinct to forage.
    – Numerous studies and my personal observations have shown that wildlife prefer their native prey over non-native food sources – however, if they come across a non-native food source, they MAY take advantage of it, depending on how plentiful their natural prey base is.

    I would continue working on your neighbor in a non-threatening way to help her understand that she may be doing more harm than good. And if you’re not successful in getting her to stop – I’m certain that, given time, this coyote will stop coming around on its own. Please keep us abreast of your observations and your progress on this issue.

    Best – Mary


  25. Mary Paglieri
    Jun 08, 2011 @ 08:18:20

    Janet – this is really a wonderful and informative blog. The photos are incredible! Keep up the great work on behalf of North America’s native Song Dog!



  26. Mary Paglieri
    Jun 08, 2011 @ 21:03:38

    Hello Richard Pepper,

    Re: protecting your feral cats from predation:

    – Raccoons will not harm your cats – I have seen them respectfully taking turns eating at feeding stations. And they do keep a safe distance from each other.

    However, coyotes and bobcats are a different story. As Janet said, your kitties are now a part of the “food-chain.” You may lose one from time to time, but there are ways you can help them escape from predators:

    1. I like to use “escape tunnels.” PVC tubing works best. It must be at least 6 feet in length, and the opening around 12 inches – wide enough to accommodate the largest kitty , but not so small that they can get stuck. You can paint the tubes to blend in with the environment and strategically place them in bushes along the path that the kitties use, or areas that you’ve seen them scatter to, when startled.

    2. The tubes must be wedged on either side by heavy concrete blocks (can be bought from the gardening department at Home Depot), to keep it stationary, otherwise the tubes will roll.

    3. Introduce the escape tubes to your colony, by placing a little bit of wet food inside the tunnel, to pique their interest.

    4. Check the tubes frequently to make sure no animals are stuck in them. Call the Peninsula Humane Society for help to remove any stuck animals. (650) 340-8200 – ask to speak with a dispatcher.

    The opening of the tube will not be large enough to accommodate a coyote or bobcat. The kitties can find a safe haven in the tubes, until the predator loses interest and moves on.

    Please let us know how it goes…

    Best – Mary


    Jun 18, 2011 @ 03:54:29



    • yipps
      Jun 18, 2011 @ 05:15:54

      ¡Gracias, Hellen! Sí, continuo siempre como antes. Ojalá que otros también aprenderán a quererlos. ¡Hasta pronto! Tu amiga en SF, Janet


  28. Gary
    Aug 11, 2011 @ 22:20:26

    Fantastic website; thanks for all the work. I am trying to listen to/download coyote vocalizations. I can listen to the audio when it is combined with video, but not the audio-only “bars”. Any idea what to do about it?


    • yipps
      Aug 12, 2011 @ 05:17:21

      Glad you like the website. I’m not sure these are downloadable, but you should be able to hear them on the site. Could it be your browser?


  29. Lauren Murata
    Oct 21, 2011 @ 08:04:39

    I live in Tucson Arizona. We often see coyotes in our neighborhood, which is in the heart of the city. My dog (a 70-lb male black Lab) has shown little interest in them, even when we have encountered them within 10 ft of us (walking with the dog on a leash). They often follow us from a short distance and seem curious.

    Anyway, we frequently go to an urban park late at night so the Lab can play fetch his favorite toy, a flashing lighted ball. This grassy little developed park lies along a very popular, mostly undeveloped linear park that follows a river bed (long ago, used to be an actual river) through the city and serves (inadvertantly) as a wildlife corridor. About two weeks ago, a coyote actually came up to the Lab in the park and they circled and sniffed, maintaining a short distance apart. There were no vocalizations except my dog making a very quiet, low-pitched warbling sound I’d never heard before — not a bark or growl at all.

    Anyway, tonight I threw the ball across the park, my dog took off after it—and then he stopped short, as the ball appeared to pick itself off the ground, bound back and forth a few times, and disappeared into the underbrush. My dog ran partway back to me, the way he does when he can’t find the ball and needs help to find it. It was a moonless night, and my flashlight was running low on batteries, but I am pretty sure it was a coyote that took his ball. I saw the green eye shine. My husband followed it a couple of hundred feet into the brush to try to get the ball back and saw it join up with three or four other animals of the same size. They all ran off, and the ball disappeared.

    So we got the “reserve” flashing ball out of the car and started to play fetch again. But on the third throw, the ball again picked itself off the ground and disappeared into the underbrush. My poor dog seemed mystified and sad.

    I had no idea that coyotes were interested in toys like balls, or would come that close to a human (maybe 25 ft away) to steal a toy from a large dog (maybe 10 ft away). I was amused and a bit alarmed—will we no longer be able to play ball in our park without coyotes stealing them? Will the fact that there was no apparent antagonism between my dog and the coyotes mean that they may attack him in the future? Or is this the beginning of a dog–coyote friendship? I would be very interested to hear your thoughts, with all of the experience you have observing urban coyotes.


    • yipps
      Oct 21, 2011 @ 13:45:00

      Hi Lauren –

      I enjoyed your story. Coyotes are very curious, especially the younger ones. I have seen them choose any number of dogs which they have approached out of curiosity and interest. I think they want to find out about them. After awhile, the interest always subsides. If you don’t want the coyotes taking your balls you can make loud noises or even toss small stones in their direction (not at them) to discourage them. If you really mean it, you’ll want to be aggressive in the way you do this. If you saw four coyotes, that is a family group, so most likely your little thief was a youngster.

      It may be your dog’s disinterest that attracted the coyotes. I used to hike with a fellow whose dog was not at all interested in the coyotes, never chased them, just nodded at them in passing, but this disinterest may have encouraged a couple of young coyotes to occasionally come up to him and sniff him. One coyote would sometimes take the sticks the dog left after chewing on them. After many months, the coyotes lost interest and no longer came around. Another young coyote would watch a fellow throw pine cones for his dog — the coyote was fascinated. One day, after the pine cone had been tossed a little further than usual, this coyote ran up to it, grabbed it and ran off with it — he was so happy to have the enchanted object. I have seen coyotes pick up a stick and then look at a dog — always a disinterested larger dog — as if to say, hey, I can play too! The interest in the stick or ball or pine cone is that the dog was having so much fun with the toy.

      About the ball, here is a sequence of photos which I caught: a coyote playing all alone with a ball. I’m sure the coyote, a young one, had watched in amazement at the joy a dog had received from the ball.

      Ultimately it’s best not to encourage a friendship, but a few curious encounters is not going to create problems. In the cases I’ve seen, though, if “Mom” is around, she most often will try to discourage the encounters by putting on her little warning dance. If this happens, it is best to leash the dog and move on. She is actually trying to teach her pups to beware of strangers! So, my advice is to know what is going on, not to become alarmed, but at the same time not to encourage a friendship. Janet


  30. Lauren Murata
    Oct 21, 2011 @ 08:10:02

    A follow-up to my last comment: I always enjoy seeing the coyotes and marvel at their boldness, but would it better all around to try to keep them afraid of us, e.g., by throwing rocks or yelling?


  31. Charles Wood
    Oct 21, 2011 @ 20:09:21

    Hi Lauren and Janet, My experiences with interactions between my dog and one particular coyote family (pack) here in the Los Angeles area, and between my dog and various other coyotes we have met in our late night walks do leave me with the opinion that it is better all around to prevent dog/coyote interactions. You didn’t mention if that particular dog park’s perimeter is fenced where it runs along the wildlife corridor? If it isn’t, advocating for installing some fencing would help prevent dog/wildlife interaction. At our dog park, the few coyotes that transit by respect the fence and are afraid of the people. They may look in, but they keep moving.

    Yelling and stomping in place should at the minimum move your coyotes back, but even with that, they don’t always completely leave and at night and with plenty of cover, its hard to tell if they are truly gone or our of view. When playing catch, you and your husband could stand apart and have your dog fetch the ball as you and your husband toss it back and forth to each other. That way if a coyote comes up, your dog would be closer to one of you and you could yell and stomp while being fairly close to your dog and the coyote.

    As it sits now it sounds like the coyotes, while in transit, stop because they find the dog park to be a source of entertainment on their journey. Yelling, stomping in place, banging loud things, standing your ground and staring at them should take the fun out it for them. When coyotes want space, they scrape the ground and yip, which stomping and yelling mimic. For me, tossing stones in their direction would be a last step. You could start with that, but it isn’t as much fun as pretending to be a coyote yourself and following their messaging ‘rules’.

    If it wasn’t the case that the coyotes were in transit, that is, if instead you and your dog were in a place special to the coyotes, a space which they claimed, the best thing is to back off the coyote and to then leave and not go back. The dynamics are different when the coyote is on ground where it has specific interests at stake as opposed to when it is just out and about foraging in fairly neutral spaces.


  32. Ethyl
    Oct 28, 2011 @ 13:18:12

    whoah this blog is fantastic i love reading your articles. Keep up the good work! You know, lots of people are hunting around for this information, you could help them greatly.


  33. Kalo
    Dec 21, 2011 @ 19:43:30

    Hi, I would NEVER want to hurt a coyote and while I enjoy reading your blog, the coyotes in AZ are becoming vicious and bold!! They have pets and have attacked people as well.

    I am so scared when walking my dog that I feel like a prisoner!!! It doesn’t matter what time a day one walks their dogs. They have also jumped my next door neighbors back yard looking for food. Thank goodness her SMALL dog was inside when this happened.

    Coyotes are now becoming bold and mean toward people.

    I would like to have positive experience like many on this blog, but, I am frightened for my pets safety when walking.

    Any adivse would be most appreciated! Thank you, Kalo


    • yipps
      Dec 22, 2011 @ 17:36:48

      Hi Kalo — I’m sorry the situation is not a happy one for you. Most problems are actually caused by humans. For instance, if coyotes are fed by other humans, this could create a problem: coyotes who are fed could begin demanding food, and then doing so aggressively. Also, any type of food, including dog food, should not be left out in yards — leaving food out serves as an invitation to coyotes to come visiting. So, tell your neighbors not to feed coyotes, or leave pet food out in their yards. I would be very surprised if coyotes were attacking humans: this would be considered abnormal coyote behavior. Coyotes really try to avoid humans: “Leave coyotes alone and they will leave you alone”. But pets, especially small pets, must be protected from coyotes. Coyotes survive on prey — they don’t know the difference between a wild animal and a small domesticated pet. It is up to you to protect your pets by keeping them indoors or on a short leash when you are out with them. Coyotes are very territorial and see dogs as competition for their territories — this is nature at work, they feel they must protect their territories, from competitors like other coyotes and dogs, to survive.

      Coyotes are easy to shoo off, though: by angrily yelling at them, or by tossing a pebble in their direction. You have to let them know that their close proximity is not welcome.

      Right now, too, coyotes are looking for mates and forming bonds. January-February is mating season and then comes pupping season. These are all times of high coyote activity. So right now It would be best if you could walk your dogs in non-coyote areas — maybe where there are a lot of people out walking — I think this would make you feel more comfortable and feel safer. Please see the coyote coexistence guidelines at the beginning of the blog. Janet


  34. Kalo
    Dec 22, 2011 @ 19:58:32

    Hi Yipps,

    I am very much enjoying this site and have been reading EVERYTHING!!!

    I am starting to understand Coyote behavior better than before!!!!!

    You are doing a great job!!!

    When my neighbor and I noticed more coyotes than ever comming into our neighborhood, I did state to her that someone must be feeding them.

    Now, I realized that they are not being fed via a bowl, but as stated it could be via exposed trash, left out cat or dog food, fallen fruit from trees…Hopefully, I can get some help from my neighbors to educate them….

    I have a 21 pound dog that is considered small, but, she does look medium small…

    Do you think a coyote would ever consider her “prey”

    I was also told by my friends and vet to carry pepper spray and a walking stick should one get bold and come close.

    What are your thoughts?

    Thanks for your reply back!



    • yipps
      Dec 23, 2011 @ 02:02:32

      Hi Kalo — I’m so glad you are enjoying the blog and are learning from it. That is the best compliment I could hope for! Thank you! About your small dog, the possibility exists that it might be seen as prey — I have heard of small dogs being grabbed by a coyote. But even if your small dog is not seen as prey, your dog will be seen as a territorial intruder. Territorial intruders, if they are simply passing through, are “tolerated” — but it’s best to move through the area uneventfully or, better yet, if you have encountered problems or antagonisms of any sort, take your walks in a different area. I’ve seen coyotes approach small unleashed hyperactive Jack Russells — I’m sure their attention was drawn to the hyperactive exploring activity of these small dogs which alarmed them. Again, it’s best to always keep your dog leashed when you go out for a walk in a coyote area. Your dog has no wilderness survival skills and needs your protection and proximity. You can shoo a coyote away, your dog cannot. I can’t imagine that you would ever need pepper spray. Janet


  35. Kellye Mixon Bussey
    Jan 10, 2012 @ 16:24:19

    I just stumbled upon your blog and love it! Fascinating commentary and beautiful pictures. We live in an area that is mixed small farms/woods interspersed with more developed neighborhoods, and have lots of wild critters but sighting are few and far between since they all tend to be wary and mostly nocturnal. Last night I heard an explosion of high pitched yipping and yammering – very shrill barking – very close by. It continued for just a couple of minutes and I was curious about the sound and googled and found your blog. Possibly what I heard was anxiety (we have dairy goats and have two livestock guardian dogs that live with them) or families meeting and greeting. Once our big dogs started to bark in response I think the coyotes quickly moved on.


  36. Amy
    Feb 11, 2012 @ 16:02:07

    Yipps, I just found this blog and I really like it! I have a video of two coyotes in California ( and was asked if it was a dominance interaction. I have no idea. I put a link to your blog in the information section for people who would like to learn more about coyotes.


    • yipps
      Feb 12, 2012 @ 03:18:07

      Hi Amy — Yes, it looks like a dominant fella lording it over the the other guy. Submissive guy walks away only when he thinks the coast is clear, tail down and constantly checking in back of himself. Janet


  37. Kat
    Jul 15, 2012 @ 01:26:19

    Hello – I wanted to email you my long comment but couldn’t find one. Oh well! I’m very excited to come across this blog and look forward to reading it and your other one. I’m from Chicago and my (new) husband is from the country. I moved out by him. We recently bought land to build a house and while he was there he was talking to someone from the area and found out there are coyotes that live in the area. I know basics about them and was kind of excited to hear this but he is more wary. I know that, for the most part, we don’t need to worry about them but of course don’t be stupid about it.

    I’ve only seen a few coyotes and foxes near my home in Chicago and I’ve gone camping (real camping, with canoe portages and no soap for 10 days lol) up in Minnesota/Canada and have been around bears and moose (moose are scary…) so I’m not a complete stranger to wildlife. Illinois has not had large predators for some time but they’re starting to move back in. Eagles started nesting around Chicago again, coyotes are here and mountain lions are starting to move back. The mountain lions are being spotted more and more around here, myself being one of those people (thankfully…for me at least, it was not a live one). Wolves are expected to move back in at some point as well. I would like to know what you have to say about mountain lions, I know they’re a big deal out west. Frankly I don’t care to ever see one again, a dead one is no threat but I could not believe how MASSIVE it was. I’m happy that we have all of these amazing (albeit somewhat frightening) animals starting to repopulate and move back but we are so naive about them since they’ve been gone for the most part for over 100 years.

    Also, re: dogs off leashes. This drives me insane. Close friends of ours have a German shepherd that they let off leash all the time in a cramped neighborhood of town homes. They were getting a lot of complaints and fines and kept getting pissed off about it. It just seems so ignorant – a lot of people are afraid of dogs, especially German shepherds. “He’s not going to do anything” right, until a delicious bunny hops by. He’s a good dog, but he is still an animal.

    Anyway, I look forward to learning about my new wild neighbors, thank you for sharing this.


    • Mary Paglieri
      Jul 18, 2012 @ 21:19:58

      Hi Kat,

      RE: Mitigating wildlife conflicts in our neighborhoods, and when visiting open-space/parklands…etc., – following the basic guidelines by giving animals a wide berth if encountered on a trail or observed at a distance, or simply leaving the area, in addition, not creating a “buffet” i.e. pet food left outdoors, unsecured garbage, fruits fallen from fruit trees, unsupervised small pets…etc. in your backyard is a good place to start.

      Mountain Lions follow a completely different M.O. They do not take advantage of pet food, small pets…etc. – things that coyotes and bears may come upon as an incidental take.

      Consider yourself fortunate if you have the opportunity to see a mountain lion – it happens quite rarely! They tend to be quite invisible to human eyes – they are also known as the Ghost cat for that reason. 95% of sightings are not verifiable, and there have been numerous reports of people mistaking large orange tabbies and bobcats for lions. Also, sightings always increase after an initial sighting is reported by the media.

      A radio-collar study of Mt. Lions in Yosemite was done by CA Department of Fish and Game in the early 80′s – they found that some of the lions stayed close to highly populated camp-grounds (without any incidence), yet people weren’t even aware of their presence. They see us, we don’t see them.

      If mt. lions decided to put us on their menu, a large number of us would be disappearing every day. Best to use common sense. If there is a report of a lion sighting in an area: avoid the area for a few days, it will have moved on by then. Always hike using the buddy system, and stay out of parks when the sun goes down, and before dawn – that is when wildlife is most actively foraging.

      Just remember that lions and all wildlife want to avoid us as much as we want to avoid them. You can clap your hands or sing when you are moving through a heavily brushed area to alert any animals to your presence, so that they can leave. Be aware of your surroundings to minimize surprise encounters. Some people recommend using a whistle – do not use a whistle in bear-country.

      There have been more injuries/fatalities with deer and other indigenous ungulates than there have been with mt. lions and coyotes.

      We’re fortunate that the mt. lion is the largest cat on our continent – imagine the Amur tiger that roams the forests of south-eastern Russia and northern China- it’ tips the scale at 700lbs!

      Hope what I wrote helps to assuage some of your concerns – if there are any specific questions about lions, please let me know.

      Mary A. Paglieri
      Human-Animal Conflict Consultant
      Little Blue Society


    • yipps
      Jul 15, 2012 @ 05:15:58

      Hi Kat —
      “I know that, for the most part, we don’t need to worry about them but of course don’t be stupid about it.” Yes! I’m glad you understand this! Give them their space, don’t feed them or leave food out, leave them alone and they will leave you alone!

      The repopulation of areas with wild animals I think is wonderful, but, as you say, “humans are terribly naive about them because they have been gone so long.” We need to learn about each of the animals that lives in our areas — each one is different and different sets of guidelines for coexistence are involved.

      My experience is with coyotes — I don’t live around mountain lions (100-165 lbs, yes, they are BIG). It might be a good idea to read up on them. I’ll ask Mary Paglieri, our wildlife conflict manager, if she has any specific advice for you. I know that right now she is working on an issue of a mountain lion which has been frequenting a neighborhood.

      As for the German shepherd off leash — the owner needs to be more respectful of people in the area, especially if people are afraid of the dog — it’s another matter of peaceful coexistence, isn’t it? Peaceful coexistence always requires some give. Hope this helps! Janet


  38. Charles Wood
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 21:13:14

    Hello Richard Pepper and Mary Paglieri

    Re: protecting your feral cats from predation:

    Yes the escape tunnels, PVC tubing, must be wedged on either side by heavy concrete blocks to keep it stationary. Wedged, it shouldn’t move from side to side. I add that it should also be wedged so that it can’t be lifted up. My dog lifts 6 foot PVC tubing up on one end and shakes it. He uses a shake and wait strategy. Shake, ready, set. Eventually the rabbit inside loses its nerve and runs out the far end for other cover. Then its shake, ready, set, run. A 6 foot head start is enough for a rabbit. However two coyotes could figure out how to use loose PVC tubing as a feeder.


  39. Louise
    Aug 21, 2012 @ 07:16:12

    Hi there.

    Your blog is extremely informative, thank you. Not being native to the United States, my knowledge of coyotes is pretty limited, so your blog has helped tremendously. Of late, we seem to be experiencing a lot of coyote sightings in our SF neighborhood. I’ve looked online but can’t find anyone else me ruining sightings here before. Also, having lived here for 2.5 years, I haven’t seen any or heard of anyone else seeing any… Until the last 2 or 3 months. We seem to have had a family of coyotes move in close proximity.

    There have been numerous daylight sightings that seem to be escalating. Even though our neighborhood is ‘fenced off’, there are major gaps in the fences with lots of wild brush surrounding the area. A dog doing its business out in a communal garden recently chased a coyote down a hill and across 4 lanes of traffic, owner screaming in panic. There were a few coyotes barking on the other side and continued for hours afterwards.

    I saw my first coyote last week at 6 in the evening, a few feet off the neighborhood perimeter. It Wasn’t afraid at all. Just stated for a bit then walked slowly off. We have a few people leaving food out for the coyotes as well as feral cats and I am guessing this is why the coyotes are settling in/near.

    Lately it seems like everyone has seen the coyotes here. It’s just odd. The perimeter fence gives people a false sense of security but it’s not really a full fence. Lots of open gaps. People leave their kids out to play in the communal gardens (which face the brush area where the coyotes come in).

    There are also a few lost dog notices popping up on street lamps lately and people saying their cats are missing.

    We live in a large community here so people feel safe to walk their dogs off-lead and late at night. I’m convinced it’s just a matter of time before something happens and the coyotes end up getting shot.

    My question is- what should I do? Is there anyone to talk to that can come in and maybe monitor the coyote population here, or at least speak to the people that are leaving food out?

    I’m not too sure how to go about it. It’s a very large community- Im only aware of what’s going on in the few streets around my house.

    In happy to provide details of where this is etc via email if you wish.

    Many thanks!


    • yipps
      Aug 26, 2012 @ 17:20:57

      Hi Louise — Thanks for contacting me. It’s important to make people aware so that they know what to expect and so that they know what to do to prevent any problems. Coyotes avoid people, but issues could be created with dogs. Let’s work on informative flyers and “Coyote Alert” signs, and possibly schedule a hands-on class/workshop with the Wildlife Conflict Manager. Most important are the signs — they serve as reminders to those who received flyers and are informative for those who did not receive flyers. I’ll contact you off-line. Janet


  40. Lu
    Aug 28, 2012 @ 21:54:19

    Since 2009 my 85 lb neutered yellow lab, Buster, has been having a sort of cat & mouse game with a particular coyote. I rarely see the coyote as the area around us is very brushy but oh do I hear her! What happens is the coyote will come in close to our yard and begin barking and yipping, identical to Charolette Hildebrand’s coyote video. Buster will take off at a full run after the coyote, chases coyote away and then returns to my frantic calls. Within seconds, coyote is back barking and yipping for another go around. This will go on (with the exception of my frantic calls) for an hour or more, no particular time of day. Often Buster will be out in the woods barking with his aggressive bark while the coyote is barking.
    I was very concerned at first as I heard of a couple coyote packs that attacked dogs. One account where the coyotes actually lured the dog away from his house then attacked.
    I have a 3 yr old 65 lb dog who also joins in the “fun” but not as often – he is very submissive and I think it frightens him a bit but he follows his big buddy. I do worry about him when my two dogs are outnumbered.
    Most of the time it is the lone coyote but yesterday afternoon there were three. Sounded like two adults and a pup who’s bark sounded much like the regular coyote. Earlier in the day my husband saw two of the coyotes come into our field, about 50 ft away from him. As soon as the dogs spotted the feral pair the game began and continued of and on for a record time of 4 hours. I finally penned the dogs up as it was begining to get dark.
    This “game” occurs every few weeks, all year long. It has gone on for so long and neither dog has ever come back injured; only Buster is sore the following day.
    I know the coyotes are not fed by humans anywhere nearby; most folks would more likely shoot them. We live in a rural portion of a small island in Washington State and coyotes are as common as raccoons in the city and there is an ample food supply of mice, voles and other small rodents. They have been known to swim back and forth across the channel to the mainland a mile away.
    Do you have any thoughts on what the coyotes are up to?
    The dogs are penned up when we are not home.
    Any comments are appreciated. Thanks, Lu


    • yipps
      Aug 29, 2012 @ 05:08:51

      Hi Lu —

      Thank you for writing! I’ve seen this kind of coyote/dog interaction right here in a San Francisco park which shares a boundary with back yards. What I think describes this behavior best is a “game of oneupmanship” involving teasing and testing, mutually intelligible to dog and coyote, not serious, and in fact fun. I think the coyotes know they won’t be harmed, and the dogs feel the same way. Your dogs are large, but they don’t sound aggressive.

      The people who own the dogs here, also large dogs, told me that they don’t think the exchange is serious — they think of it as a kind of standoffish play. Nonetheless, they have been advised that dogs and coyotes need to be kept apart here in the city, so this exchange which went on for several years, no longer goes on. There always is the possibility that the coyote could take a nip at a dog’s haunches.

      I’ll ask our wildlife management consultant for any additional input she might have and get back to you. Janet


  41. Lu
    Aug 29, 2012 @ 15:57:14

    Thank you much Janet, I’ll look forward to any additional input. Your response makes sense and you are correct that niether dogs are agressive. I’d love to attach a webcam to Buster’s head but I know it would not last three seconds in place.
    I forgot to thank you for your wonderful web site. Hopefully it will educate folks, especially those who do not understand these beautiful and adaptable creatures!


  42. Bill Noble
    Dec 19, 2012 @ 21:57:39

    Janet, what an utterly amazing website, and what a treasure trove of natural history and great information. A monumental labor of love with great benefits to people — and to all the rest of us! Your website will be a permanent resource as we all slowly learn to coexist with nature.

    One comment for a few of your commenters: Feral cats. Nearly half of ALL predation on songbirds is by household and feral cats, and in most heavily settled areas many bird species can no longer reproduce at replacement rates because of it. We only have our neighborhood birds because of constant in-migration from wilder places.

    Cats are great. We (mostly) all love cats. But to feed or protect feral cats is to do a great harm. You can love animals and nature. Or you can feed feral cats. You can’t do both.


    • yipps
      Dec 19, 2012 @ 22:24:36

      Hi Bill —

      So glad you like the site! Yes, it’s a labor of love! Cats take about 70,000 song birds a year in the US. Another issue is that putting out cat food attracts raccoons, coyotes and other predators to the area — usually neighborhood areas. Predators may progress from eating the cat food to eating the cats. If you feed feral cats, you could be shortening their lives. I’m not sure that dry food fed at mid-day with hiding tubes offer much protection. It’s just best not to leave out easily accessible food.


  43. Bill Noble
    Dec 19, 2012 @ 22:29:52

    Actually, the American Bird Conservancy estimates, based on a wide variety of studies, that about 500 million US birds are killed annually by cats, about half by pets, half by ferals. It’s a mind-boggling number. [See, among other sources, NYT “Tweety Was Right” 3/20/11]


  44. brian
    Feb 12, 2013 @ 03:56:08

    Just saw a beautiful large coyote running down the center of Folsom at 17th, round noon, headed downtown. I sure hope he/she is okay.


    • yipps
      Feb 12, 2013 @ 04:22:17

      Hi Brian — Thanks for writing! Teenage coyotes are learning the ropes of urban living as they “volunteer” to move out of their natal areas, egged out by parents or siblings. I hope everyone can be as concerned about their safety as you are, and show a little patience and understanding about their situation. They’ll soon settle down. This is the time of the year they are most visible in new places. Hope your guy/gal learns about traffic quickly! Please spread positive information about him/her! Janet


  45. Lisa Reynolds
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 04:27:35

    I’m hoping you might be able to explain a recent coyote encounter. I was hiking with my dogs in a large open space area. Two other people were as well. All of us had small dogs along. The coyote was quite far up a large hill but was barking and howling quite insistently. It seemed aimed at those of us below, particularly the male hike who was directly below the coyote. I was wondering if perhaps he and his dogs were near a kill or a den. This was on April 19, Bay Area California. I’ve seen a few coyotes out in this area but never anything so bold. This guy was really worked up about something. Thank you!


    • yipps
      Apr 24, 2013 @ 05:27:00

      Hi Lisa —

      It’s hard to tell without more details. How “small” were the dogs? Were the fellow and his dogs approaching the coyote? Had the dogs chased the coyote? Or had they surprised the coyote or caught it off-guard? Were the dogs running around, or were they leashed?

      This is pupping season: pups are being born right now. If there is a den, and if you came too close to it, then, yes, the coyote could very well have been howling in hopes of dissuading anyone from coming closer. Even small dogs are a threat during pupping season — coyote pups are vulnerable and can be taken by any size dog, including wild foxes. It’s an insistent howl, but it has to be to get the message across. Hope this helps! Janet


  46. Lisa Reynolds
    Apr 30, 2013 @ 04:48:13

    Thanks Janet. The small dogs were 12 and 10 pounds, small dachshund, etc. there was a large bird dog too. All were off leash. None close to the coyote at all though. The bird dog, (not one of mine) can really cover some ground so perhaps he was spooking the coyote. But I’m sure the owner would never have approached, in fact, he was getting the hell out of dodge. We all left fast.
    Is it likely that one of these local coyotes would take a run at one of my small dogs?
    Thanks so much for your help!


    • yipps
      Apr 30, 2013 @ 20:04:30

      Hi Lisa —

      The issue isn’t whether a coyote is *likely* to take your small dog — statistically, it’s not very likely. The issue is, nevertheless, that it *could* take your dog: they have the capacity to do so if the circumstances are right.

      My question to you is, why increase the chances of this happening by walking an unleashed dog close to a place you’ve clearly been warned about: the coyote let you know it was distressed by your presence. Might you be *inviting* the coyote to come after your dog by not heeding its warning message?

      Coyotes avoid all humans — we are bigger and smarter than they are and they know it. It’s the dogs which are the issue for coyotes. Canines of all types tend not to like each other: coyotes, wolves, foxes, dogs. But they also keep “interlopers” of their own species away from critical territorial areas.



  47. Bill Noble
    Apr 30, 2013 @ 20:15:28

    My two cents: in relation to coyotes, dogs can be food, annoyances, competitors, predators . . . and even potential playmates (I’ve seen video of dog-coyote play). Coyotes, BTW are major predators of gray foxes, not too much unlike lots of dogs in size, whose populations have plummeted since coyotes recolonized Marin. Beyond that, though, dogs loose in our terribly limited natural habitats are a big problem, and many dog owners are clueless or contemptuous of regulations.


    • yipps
      May 01, 2013 @ 05:18:43

      Hi Bill —

      Thanks for your comment! Yes, but what happened to most of the foxes is that they moved out — out of possible harms way — out of coyotes way — to peripheral areas. The fox population did not plummet because coyotes killed them all. Janet


  48. Lisa Reynolds
    May 02, 2013 @ 18:35:26

    Thanks Janet and Bill!


  49. Keli Hendricks
    May 17, 2013 @ 00:47:05

    In response to Mr. Noble’s claim that coyotes are major predators of grey fox, I am including a link to a study of coyotes predations of red fox.
    While there was evidence that coyotes killed foxes on occasion, (most commonly foxes that were caught in leg hold traps) the two species often seemed indifferent to one another and were even observed denning and raising young within short distances of one another.
    Coyotes were NOT considered to be a major cause of fox mortality.
    If you check the stats at Wildcare and Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue, grey foxes are most often admitted from problems associated with living alongside humans, such as poisonings. hit by cars, traps etc.. and NOT because of attacks by coyotes.


  50. Elisabeth Dicharry
    May 26, 2013 @ 17:03:42

    Excellent Resource. Thank you for all the time, effort, and compassion you have put into this page


  51. Mary
    Sep 18, 2013 @ 03:19:40

    I just moved into a home bordering a canyon in the East Bay. I only lived a few miles from here before and got used to seeing deer but now I see coyotes daily! At first, I was unnerved. I walk my large, leashed dog early in the morning and, the first few walks after we moved in, a coyote came into the street and walked toward us. My dog is 9 years old and a pitbull/boxer mix. He and I both were staring at the coyote, wondering what it was doing. I started to move away and walk up the nearby hill. It followed us to the bottom of the hill and then casually started walking in the other direction. A few days later, I got brave and thought we might be able to walk again without an encounter. But down the street, a coyote came out of the brush in the canyon and watched us from the curb and the other side of the street. I decided that we would drive to a park to walk the next day. When we were walking through the small park, with playgrounds and ponds, two ducks left the pond and started following us. I wondered what was it about us that wildlife is so calmly following us? My children have gotten a kick from my stories and my fears. Now, there are bi-weekly howling evenings in the canyon and I decided to get to know more about my new neighbors – the coyotes. By the way, this week we saw a grey fox on our canyon walk later in the morning! Thank you for this fascinating blog.


    • yipps
      Sep 18, 2013 @ 03:57:28

      Hi Mary —

      Thank you for sharing this. It’s a wonderful story! I’ll be retelling it to folks who are worried about any coyote following them! Janet


  52. Tylene Warner
    Oct 27, 2013 @ 14:10:40

    I was researching coyote scat and found your wonderful site on coyotes! I live in So Cal in a condo complex near a flood control channel. We’ve always had coyotes in the complex as long as I’ve lived here (12 years). I’ve seen several cats that have been killed by coyotes in the area. We’ve tried to educate owners not to let their cats outdoors but they don’t always listen. I’m always surprised at how clean the “kill” is……only the organs have been taken, the rest of the cat remains there.

    I’ve never seen this scat (with red berries) before in 12 years of walking in the area even though everyone has seen many coyotes in the area. That’s what led me to your site. Last night the sound of an animal squealing, obviously being attacked, woke me up. That’s when I decided to do more research. I’m wondering why I’m seeing all of this scat when I haven’t before?


    • yipps
      Oct 27, 2013 @ 18:02:24

      Please know that when there are coyotes in an area, they are always blamed for all pet disappearances and killing — whether this is so or not. In fact, a cat could have been killed by any predator in the area: a bobcat, a raccoon, an owl, etc., or it even could have been hit by a car and then scavenged.

      Most predators tend to go for the nutritious inners of their prey first. And, coyotes more often than not will carry a carcass off with them to a safe spot where they will, at some point, eat the entire carcass.

      You may be noticing more scat now for several reasons. Foremost, you have simply become aware of it, so now you are looking for it! But also, this year’s pups are now out and about, leaving their scat everywhere — and you’re seeing it. At some point the young ones will disperse.


  53. Francisco
    Nov 08, 2013 @ 19:26:26


    I just had a close encounter with a coyote yesterday. It was too close for comfort and honestly, I felt my dogs were in real danger.

    We were at Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park yesterday. As you enter the park from MLK Jr Drive, there is a big lawn area just below the Lake. Ordinarily, that lawn area is packed full of small kids (there is a playground at one corner), so I’m unable to play with my dogs there. But since it was a weekday, the lawn was fairly deserted, so my dogs (3 french bulldogs on the small side) played unleashed. It was noon and getting pretty hot, so we moved from out of the open to the edge of a shady area provided by a large cypress. I was lying on the grass with them for about 10 minutes when a man walked up to me and said to be careful, there was a “fox” watching us from the shade. I sat up and looked around, and maybe 30-40 feet from us was a coyote. It was by some shrubbery, but even with the groundcover and shade, I was close enough to see that it had no collar and was NOT a stray German Shepherd. It was too big to be a fox. I also knew it was coyote because if it was a domestic dog, it would’ve probably come up to my dogs to say hi. Luckily, my dogs did not see it, and i grabbed all 3 of them by their collars so they wouldn’t run up to greet it. I sat there and watched the coyote for 5 minutes, while I dug for the leashes in my coat pocket and restrained my dogs. The 4 us sat there huddled as a tight ball till I could figure something out (the man who had warned us was now too far away for me to ask for help). The coyote was clearly not afraid of us; it didn’t move away even after I made eye contact and started yelling. I had the distinct feeling it was waiting for us to break apart as a group, so that it could determine which of us was the weakest, strongest, or most foolish. When I finally leashed the dogs, I stood up and waived my hands in the air. Only then did it back up and retreat into the brush.

    If that man hadn’t warned me about the “fox” watching us, I think things could’ve turned out tragically; the coyote was really that close. I’m all for sharing natural resources with wild animals, and from here on out, they can definitely have Golden Gate Park (and Stern Grove or Mountain Lake Park) during the weekdays. I’ll just go on the weekends like hundreds of other SF residents. But the facts are (1) the wild animals aren’t scared of us anymore; (2) they are hemmed in (at least the Golden Gate Park coyotes); and (3) the GGP coyotes are thriving (I read somewhere that there were 3 new adolescents as of 2010). Things are going to come to a head eventually but it shouldn’t take a tragedy (either a coyote death or dog death) for people to take make a more proactive approach to managing wild life in an urban area.


    • yipps
      Nov 08, 2013 @ 20:25:37

      Hi Francisco —

      Thank you for writing. San Francisco has a proactive approach to coyote management: it’s called coexistence through education. Education is the only “tool” you need for managing coyotes.

      Your entire writeup is about your fears. Knowing something about coyotes will help alleviate your fears. You are not in danger from a coyote. You need only take minor precautions to make sure your pets and coyotes stay apart.

      I think it would be helpful for you to watch the urban coyote video presentation, “Coyotes As Neighbors”: You’ll learn what behaviors to expect from your dogs and coyotes and how to handle any chance encounters.

      The coyote you saw was not out to get you. Watching you out of curiosity is not a crime. You need not have huddled in fear — coyotes are more fearful of people than you are of them. You simply needed to leash your dogs and move on, or you could have shooed it off a little more forcefully. I believe Golden Gate Park is an onleash area, isn’t it?

      Please let me know if you want one-on-one assistance with how to shoo off a coyote. I’m here to help with this. Janet


  54. Francisco
    Nov 08, 2013 @ 22:41:11

    Thank you Janet for your comments. It helps a little, but I wasn’t afraid for me, I was afraid for my small dogs. I guess what really bothered me about the whole incident is it happened in a highly touristy area of Golden Gate Park (not like the Polo fields which are pretty remote and not regularly frequented), at noon-1pm (rather than early morning/dusk when coyotes usually hunt), and we weren’t even intruding on a possible den area — we were sitting on a lawn. So, I’m definitely educated about the habits of wild animals but it clearly did not apply to this one.

    I have to say, though, that my dogs and I were also more or less napping on the grass, so pretty vulnerable and perhaps fit a “prey” profile. It’s arguable whether the coyote meant to pick off one of my small dogs. But the fact remains that the coyote didn’t budge even after I made eye contact and started yelling, which told me that this animal was not only curious but also unafraid – that’s the critical piece. Even when I got up and rose to my full height, it didn’t decide to leave right away; it kind of paced a little in place and only ducked into the brush after I feigned taking a couple of steps in its direction.

    I don’t know how long it had been there watching us, but it was close enough that I could see the silver tips on its fur. Maybe that was the point; it wanted me to know that it was there.


    • yipps
      Nov 08, 2013 @ 23:49:36

      Hi Francisco —

      I think this was perfectly normal behavior for a coyote. Coyotes in urban areas watch their surroundings and soon learn the critical distances they need to maintain as they go about their business of living. Nonetheless, coyotes retain their innate wariness of humans — that is why you were able to scare it off. This particular coyote may be a youngster who has not been shooed off before. It will soon learn what shooing off is about and will flee a little more quickly next time. It is something coyotes have to learn. Coyotes are not nocturnal, so you can see them at any time of the day, and they do trek through more populated areas. This doesn’t mean they will attack you. You still have to guard your pets — but you have to do this anyway: statistically, small dogs are much more vulnerable to attacks by larger dogs and from cars than they are from coyotes.

      I don’t think you can say that the coyote “wanted me to know that it was there.” More than likely, it was there first, possibly sleeping under a bush, when you arrived. Dr. Stan Gehrt, a coyote specialist at Ohio State University, has radio-collared some of the coyotes he’s studying in the Chicago area. He can drive around in his specially-equipped van and point out which shrubs are hiding coyotes — right in the middle of very populated areas.

      I’m not sure I know what you mean by a “prey profile”. Please remember that no small pets should be left unsupervised in an open area: I would say that they were unattended if you were napping.


  55. ALE
    Nov 26, 2013 @ 21:38:01

    Hi, thanks for your good information! I recently moved after 35 years in the Castro District to San Rafael, across from a vacant hillside and open space. We have already seen racoons, squirrels, deer and a family of wild turkeys. Early this morning, around 2:30 a.m. we heard barking and yelping right outside of our house going on for several minutes, then I saw a coyote walking up the road. In reviewing your blog and other sites, I was surprised to learn they do actually “bark”. It sounded like a dog for awhile but different. Come to think of it, I have not seen the wild turkeys lately??? What do you think?


    • yipps
      Nov 26, 2013 @ 23:22:01

      It sounds like you moved to a good place for wildlife! Yes, coyotes do bark, but, as you noted, it sounds a little different from dogs and often breaks into the yipping or howling you normally associate with a coyote. As for the disappearing wild turkeys, they could have moved on or become dinner. Here is behavior I found very interesting: Packs And Loners.


  56. creekwaterwoman
    Jan 03, 2014 @ 22:02:04

    I love this blog, and absolutely love the photos of happy coyotes. It makes me feel good to know there are people educating others about coyotes.


  57. lablady
    Dec 22, 2014 @ 19:11:59

    Hello. I have a question? I live in a semi-rural farming community and have coyotes frequently. I love seeing them and don’t ever consider them a “nuisance” like some of my neighbors. I have learned to not mention the sightings to certain neighbors because they will kill them. I currently have a lab and we walk daily. Most of our sightings are early spring and when the crops come out in the fall. We have had several “packs” take up residence in the fields across from our house for many years. Sometimes one will wander into our yard but not really cause any problems. My lab and all my former dogs live inside. However, just last night I noticed scat, 2 piles, in the landscaping rock against our house just feet from our front door. Seems like one of them is “marking” our home. I’m not really thrilled about that. Although my neighbor has had them leave scat in the end rock area of her drive, I have never found it on my property. Is there a way I can discourage them from leaving it in my yard without causing harm?


    • yipps
      Dec 23, 2014 @ 14:44:28

      Hello! The best way to discourage coyotes is your actual physical presence, but I know it’s not always possible to be right there at the right time. I have written a colleague to ask about habitat modification for this specific purpose. I will relay what she says when I hear from her. In the meantime, if you’re willing to be unconventional, here’s some food for thought (!):


  58. lablady
    Dec 23, 2014 @ 14:58:50

    I like the story! My adult sons would think it a hoot! But it brings up some interesting facts. My current dog rarely marks or defecates in the front yard. We have 2 acres fenced in the back that he uses. But he does mark around scat we find when walking away from our home. He is a more secure, healthy canine than we have had in the past so perhaps the coyotes are feeling his presence more. However, he is well trained and will rarely be reactive to sightings. BTW, I love your site.


    • yipps
      Dec 23, 2014 @ 20:23:42

      Glad you like the site! Coyotes tend to push their boundaries, for example, with other coyote families, which is what may be going on. If your dog is larger than a coyote (larger than about 35 pounds) it can stand up to a coyote, and they may establish mutual and amicable boundaries on their own. If your dog is smaller, you need to protect your dog by always being present when it’s out. In this case, you are the one who will need to do the “pushing back” if you don’t want the coyote there.


    • yipps
      Dec 23, 2014 @ 22:04:09

      I heard back from Mary Paglieri, a Wildlife-Human Conflict Manager who has been specializing in coyote issues, about what to do. She says to remove the coyote poop and replace it with the dog’s poop. Take the dog out on a leash and let it mark territory/urinate around the property. Also in the area where the coyote poop was, leave a large object like a bucket, beach ball, lawn chair – whatever you have on hand…etc. Remove the object after a week.

      Let us know what happens after a week – and we’ll make adjustments/advise on the next steps, if necessary.


  59. lablady
    Dec 24, 2014 @ 01:38:51

    We removed the scat. I will put my dog’s feces there tomorrow and place a large planter right next to it. My dog is a 68# lab and I NEVER leave him outside unattended even in fenced area. When we walk he is on lead 75% of the time, only off lead when we are in wide open spaces that are unobstructed so I can see what’s coming and we have a clear exit. So I am never worried about his safety and would never allow or encourage taunting/chasing/engaging a coyote. We saw the coyote tonight as we were approaching our drive in our car. He was healthy looking, as are most of the ones I see. He ran from our yard across the road to the field. As I said before, this one is not the first I have seen in our yard over the years. Just the first that is marking and so close to our front door. I suppose it could be as you say, and two packs are fighting over our abundance of rabbits. Thanks for your help. I will let you know how it goes.


  60. Betty Naughton
    Feb 22, 2015 @ 21:46:58

    Hi Janet,
    What a great website and resource about coyotes! Thank you for creating it.
    I am a naturalist with City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks (Colorado). We’ve had some issues in the last few years with overly habituated coyotes, 3 people bit by coyotes in the last 2 years, dogs killed and lots of missing cats. We are trying to do more education in the community about coyotes and help the public understand they not only shouldn’t feed them, but they also shouldn’t be so tolerant of them hanging out by the bike paths, following people, etc, but should actively shoo them away rather than turn and take another path. Your site is a wonderful resource for information.

    You have many great pictures on the site – I would love to use some to print and show during presentations and some to use in a powerpoint I am putting together. I would of course attribute them to you and your website. Let me know if that would be OK.

    Keep up the good work.

    Betty Naughton


    • yipps
      Feb 23, 2015 @ 13:37:06

      Hi Betty —

      Nice to meet you, and so glad you like the website. Thanks for your work with the coyotes and for trying to help folks coexist with them in your area.

      I’m concerned and curious as to how you see habituation or over-habituation contributing to these conflicts with pets and humans. My entire aim is to help coyotes, and to help folks coexist with coyotes. In my experience, blaming “habituation” for every problem with a coyote isn’t going to help anything, and in fact, it can escalate perceptions of danger. For example, when a “habituated” coyote doesn’t respond to “hazing” by not fleeing fearfully as the hazer expects, that coyote is then labeled as “bold” and “dangerous” and some communities target it for removal. “Habituated” simply means “get used to”, and indeed, urban coyotes do get used to seeing folks. But they also get used to the hazing, so that they take longer to flee or don’t flee at all — this is when they are considered “bold” and “a danger to the community” and amplification of fears takes place. Assigning these issues to “habituation” and then using “hazing” as the solution is not going to solve any of the issues you mention: in my experience, it simply will create another level of issues. Habituation, per se, doesn’t cause aggressive or dangerous behavior and does not lead to these issues.

      Instead, we need to zero in on cause and effect and on precisely what is happening. We can solve all issues in this manner.

      Cats disappearing cannot be blamed on habituated coyotes. Why would a coyote who has become used to seeing people be the cause of the coyote’s taking the cat? One has nothing to do with the other. Coyotes do opportunistically hunt small prey which is available. Cats who roam free become available to the coyote. Preventing cats from roaming free makes the cats unavailable to the coyote. So, to prevent cats from disappearing, hey, don’t let your cat roam free. Habituation is not involved.

      The same can be said for unattended or off-leash dogs. Coyote behavior involves keeping other transient coyotes out of their territories because they are competitors for the same resources. Dogs are often seen and treated by a coyote no differently than an interloper/transient coyotes: they are messaged antagonistically — a smaller dog indeed could be killed. To prevent negative dog/coyote encounters, we need to follow guidelines to keep coyotes and dogs apart: keep our dogs leashed in coyote areas, always supervise them, always walk away from a coyote if you have a dog, know how to scare off a coyote effectively if it should approach you and your dog. Again, habituation has nothing to do with the issue.

      Coyotes have better things to do than hang around bike paths unless they are being rewarded in some way — possibly food-conditioned — they are not there simply because they have become habituated to folks and like the activity on the path. Coyotes, even habituated ones, don’t naturally just mingle and mix with people or high activity — they avoid these things. And coyotes don’t just go up to folks and bite them. Bites and scratches to humans almost always are the result of a person interjecting themselves in a dog/coyote altercation. The altercation could have been prevented in the first place by following the guidelines: keep your dog leashed, walk away from coyotes always, don’t let your dog chase a coyote, know how to shoo away a coyote effectively from your immediate area, especially if it is approaching your dog.

      The reason coyotes hang around people’s yards is almost always due to food-conditioning. Get rid of all food attractants, which, by the way, includes unsupervised pets, and the coyotes will soon stop coming by.

      A site evaluation would probably show you what specifically is attracting coyotes to the path used by bikes — more than likely that folks are feeding the coyotes. Feeding of any kind should be made illegal and there should be penalties.

      Betty, we need to work with precisely what is causing the problems, with real cause and effect instead of a generalized “habituation” issue which has nothing to do with what is really going on. If we’re on the same page, GREAT! I would love to help out with photos and in any other way I can! Please let me know your thoughts! Janet


    • yipps
      Feb 23, 2015 @ 22:13:23

      Hi Betty —

      I thought of something else which I should have mentioned in my reply to you. You know coyotes tend to “chase” things that are going fast — usually prey, but also interloper coyotes. It’s why we tell folks never to run away from a coyote, but to walk away. A bike is in this same category: its speed could incite a chase reaction in a coyote. The same is true for runners. Knowing this, you could let runners and bikers know that they should stop and proceed more slowly when they see a coyote on or near the bike path. I’m reminded of some dogs who chase cars and bite the tires — it’s some kind of instinctual thing, but it’s not caused by habituation. Janet


      • Betty Naughton
        Feb 28, 2015 @ 23:15:45

        Hi Janet,

        Thank you so much for your replies. I believe I am mostly on the same page with you about coexisting with coyotes, but there may be some some differences.

        First I’ll say a little about wildlife here in Boulder Colorado. We are literally where the mountains meet the prairie. City Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) has 47,000 acres, county Open Space has about 76,000 acres. We have lots of wildlife – and lots that come into the city. Deer, bears and mountain lions come into town regularly. We’ve even had elk and moose in town (very rarely.) Most Boulderites love our wildlife and want to peacefully coexist with them. We were the first city in the country to vote to tax ourselves to buy Open Space (1960s.) OSMP preserves land for many purposes, including human passive recreation and wildlife habitat. We are accused by some other communities of being tree huggers that are too tolerant of all this “dangerous” wildlife in town. We have never had a bear or mountain lion injure someone in town (and only once did a mountain lion injure someone in our City Open Space and Mountain Parks).

        We try to educate people not to feed wildlife or leave trash and other edibles available to them in town, and there are city and state regulations against feeding wildlife. However, we know there are still people who do it. We also try to educate people to protect their pets – not let their cats out, not leave dogs out unattended at night even in fenced yards, etc. Still, people let their cats out, let dogs out onto deck or in yard at night, don’t have their chickens effectively protected (a few years ago we started allowing chickens in town.) And dogs are taken by mountain lions and coyotes, chicken coops and pens are raided by so many kinds of animals, cats disappear (owls, hawks, mountain lions, coyotes, cars, and more.)

        We never were very concerned about human safety around coyotes until around 2008 when there started being reports of coyotes biting people in nearby Denver and other communities even closer to Boulder. Then in 2013 in Boulder area we had 3 people bitten by coyotes (including one that appeared like it could have been a predatory attack – no dog, no jogging, no food, not near a den.), and in 2014 one person bitten by coyote. 3 of the bites were on or near the Boulder Creek Path (the serious attack was in a different area). Rangers did find a pile of burritos on the ground on the other side of a pond from the creek path – maybe 1/3 mile from the path. They guessed that someone had left it there for the coyotes. That was the only time any direct evidence of feeding was found there, but they assumed that it was not a one-time event, and, as you mentioned, feeding probably had a lot to do with the coyote behavior in the area.

        I heartily agree with you on the need to continue to work at educating people about not feeding or provoking coyotes, and to have better enforcement of the no feeding wildlife laws. I do my part in the education aspect. I wish I had more control over the enforcement (I think the rangers and officers don’t give enough fines.)

        I may possibly differ from you in one aspect of how to coexist with coyotes. I think that bikers and joggers should not be expected to stop and walk or turn back when they see a coyote on the bike path. Coyotes relate to each other with dominant and submissive behaviors. They also defend their territory from other coyotes. These are interactions they understand. Over time it appears that the coyotes in the Boulder Creek path area may have claimed this as their territory and become dominant while the humans who have stopped and turned around on the path when they see a coyote have shown the coyotes they are submissive. I think the people should reclaim a swath 10 or 20 yards alongside the creek path as their territory, where coyote interlopers may pass through but not stay. We should encourage people to shoo coyotes away from the path, make ourselves dominant, and claim the bike path as our territory.

        After the bites by the creek path, our wildlife organization had people (myself included), patrol the creek path and try to shoo away coyotes that were on or next to the path for about a month. We all encountered some that were very difficult to shoo away. It took me over 20 minutes to get one to move more than 15 yards away from the path, and it only left after a few joggers stopped and helped me. That’s what I considered a “bold” coyote, and even though it was not aggressive at all toward me, I do not think that lack of fear helps people to coexist with it. As you talked about, we also assumed these coyotes had been fed. Unfortunately we were not able to identify who may have been feeding them. We talked to many joggers, walkers, bikers, and dog walkers while patrolling the path about the downsides of feeding coyotes as well as their experiences on the path. No one claimed to have witnessed anyone feeding them, but we heard many stories of coyotes chasing and/or nipping at bikers, chasing joggers, and following walkers. Most of the walkers who were followed had dogs on leash.

        Unfortunately there are some realistic considerations: 1) despite education efforts, signs, laws and fines, there are some people who are still intentionally feeding wildlife, and many more who are unintentionally feeding them with trash, fruit trees, compost piles, pet food, unprotected pets, etc. Boulder doesn’t have nearly enough rangers and code enforcement officers to find and fine all the wildlife feeders. 2) We have many bikers and joggers and dog walkers who use the paths in the areas where coyotes hang out regularly, and many of these users are not willing to stop and walk or turn around when coyotes are there. 3) Coyotes may be easier to train than people.

        The Creek Path is a very popular and heavily used multiuse path built for people – we can’t ask people not to ride bikes, jog or walk dogs on it when that is what the path was made for. I think we and the coyotes can coexist very well when coyotes retain some fear of people – when they are not comfortable being very close to people and when they move away if we try to shoo them.

        I would really be interested in what you think about our situation. You clearly know a lot about coyotes, and especially coyotes in urban settings.

        I love that you have taken issue with some of the vocabulary used – words do affect how we see things. “Hazing” has such aggressive, adversarial, negative connotations. “Shoo away” brings to mind a much gentler friendlier action. I was in an elementary school last week talking to classes about coyotes and, after having read your blog, I talked about shooing away instead of hazing. Even though the actions I suggested were the same, it felt different. I like it and will continue to use it.

        Another word is “habituation” – you see it as a positive part of coexistence. I looked the word up just to see the official definition, and I’d say you use that word in the correct way and most wildlife agencies (and myself included) have used it differently, to mean more like losing all fear of people (no fear of being very close.) I think we should stop using “habituation” in that way, I agree that our urban coyotes are and should be habituated. And instead we should talk about losing all fear of people and approaching people as the problems, not habituation. However, getting agencies to change their use of the word is beyond my control, but I will try change my use of the word.

        I have written up an outline for a coyote program which I presented to some 2nd grade classes this week, and it will be the basis for a 3rd grade program that a group of volunteers will be doing in schools. I would love to get your feedback on it if you are interested in looking at it. I could also send you write-ups/articles on the coyote bites that have happened in our area. I’d be especially interested in your thoughts on the attack that had our wildlife officers surprised and puzzled because it did not have any of the circumstances of other coyote bites in the area – he did not have a dog, he was not near a den, he was not jogging or biking, there was no food involved, yet 3 coyotes attacked him. Let me know if you are interested in my sending you the outline and/or the bites write-ups. I would want to email them, not post them on the blog. I assume you have my email (from signing up on the blog) – you could email me your email.

        Yip Yip Oooowl, Betty

      • yipps
        Mar 02, 2015 @ 16:50:21

        Hi Betty —

        Thank you for your very thoughtful and thorough reply. And thank you for your insights, dedication and commitment to coexistence. I enjoyed reading this and value what you have said and the time you’ve put into it. Yip Yip Oooow to you! Yes, I believe we are pretty much on the same page — our goals are exactly the same — even though our understanding of some of the behaviors and protocol for taking care of those problems differs a bit. I, as all of us, am still trying to fine-tune for myself some of the issues you’ve brought up: discussion is useful.

        Here is my input about what you have written:

        “Getting used to”, and “losing fear” are much more similar than they are different in my mind. A coyote who gets used to seeing folks over time looses a lot of its fear. But they don’t lose their innate wariness of humans, no matter how often they see us. Run at a coyote who’s in your personal space, and it will flee — especially if you add aggression to your run.

        *Most important for me at this moment is that some communities have been led to believe that a habituated coyote is a dangerous coyote and needs to be lethally removed. This is what I would want addressed and changed in the protocol. All urban coyotes become habituated — it’s a natural, instinctive process built into the coyote to preserve energy — you can’t really stop it from happening in urban areas. As you know, “hazing” itself is something to which coyotes become habituated, and when they don’t flee right away, or stay out of view, they are called fearless, bold and aggressive — habituated — and they are targeted for lethal removal.

        Hazing, as I see it, is not dissimilar from shooing away a coyote, except it leaves out the “approaching” part and adds “habituation” to the equation. Hazing is more of a bluffing tactic, meant to startle — but the startle effect wears off with continued use. This term is always associated with the overarching phenomenon of “habituation”, whereas “shooing away” is more simply a cause-and-effect tactic: “you’re in my space, git!” In addition, as you point out about the terms themselves, “hazing” has much more adversarial and negative connotations and shooing away is a gentler and friendlier action and more in-line with true “coexistence.”

        A question I have for you is, what did you do for 20 minutes to “haze” the coyote who wouldn’t move? It sounds as though this coyote had become habituated to hazing itself, as I explained above. You called this coyote who wouldn’t react “bold” as most folks would, when in fact, the coyote has learned from previous hazings that the scare tactic is yet something else in its environment to get used to. What works for me is to approach the coyote who is not way out in the distance — get right in there in its critical space — and it will move away. Slap a newspaper aggressively on your thigh as you do this and stare him down as you approach him, possibly yelling at him. This multi-sensory approach: noise, wild arm movements, approaching, eye-balling him, yelling — serves to make the message clear.

        In my opinion, hazing a coyote who is off in a distant field is totally counterproductive — that’s how their habituation to this scare tactic begins. However, scaring a coyote out of your immediate space — including on the path you are working on — by shooing it as you approach it, as explained above, is effective, and absolutely necessary. The idea of the coyotes claiming the path as their own and that humans need to take it back is fascinating — I’ve never seen anything like this, so I need to think about this one. In my estimation, it’s not about dominance and submission, it’s about attractants and territoriality.

        Coyotes don’t naturally approach people, and they avoid human activity areas, so I would say, let’s figure out what is really going on on your bike path and deal with that. Coyotes “experiment” in pushing their boundaries — this is probably at the root of how they’ve expanded their ranges and why they are thriving, habituated or not. If a coyote explores a yard, it won’t stick around if there’s nothing there for it. If it finds food, it will return: food conditioning is at work here. They are attracted antagonistically to dogs and they tend to chase anything running, even bikes: these are territorial behaviors, not habituation issues. Most bites occur when humans feed a coyote, or when they attempt breaking up a coyote/dog altercation. So, never feed a coyote, and keep your dog leashed and away from coyotes. A coyote may also chase and nip at the heels of a runner or biker — this is why we tell folks never to run from a coyote and teach them how to shoo them off.

        Okay, you say folks aren’t following the rules, so it’s easier to train coyotes than humans. Is it? If you put the onus of the problem on humans, they’ll take responsibility. Here in SF, Animal Care and Control said they would do nothing if your unleashed dog is nipped or taken by a coyote. People slowly started leashing their dogs in coyote areas!

        Territorial issues can cause a coyote to run towards a dog, even a leashed dog, and nip it. I try to let folks know what is going on behaviorally, teach them to walk away, be ready to shoo the coyote off aggressively. Since I have seen coyotes display a bit of sass — every coyote has a different personality — a bit of humor has to be interjected: Coyote wasn’t labeled as “Wily” or “wile” for no reason!

        A suggestion about the “predatory attack” you referred to is that it might have been an injured or sick coyote. This should always be the thinking when a coyote acts this way. I would exhaust all options before labeling it predatory. Or maybe the fellow who was “attacked” isn’t telling the whole story? How folks report stories is directly tied to their fear levels.

        Okay. These are my thoughts about what you said. You are welcome to use any of my photos you want, but I ask that you consider the starred paragraph above: no need to kill coyotes simply because they’ve become habituated, nor call them dangerous. And I would love to read your outline and give my input. Will contact you through email.


  61. Jonathan Stein
    Feb 24, 2015 @ 10:41:53

    I encountered a pair of coyotes in Death Valley late last year that had a begging routine. One animal stood in the center of the road, until I stopped my carr. Then both animals approached closely, obviously looking for a handout. Both animals appeared to be healthy and of good size. I gave them nothing, much to their disappointment.


    • yipps
      Feb 24, 2015 @ 14:05:10

      Hi Jonathan — Thanks for your comment. Almost all “issues” with coyotes are caused by human behaviors. They have been taught, over time, that by approaching folks, they’ll get food — this is called food-conditioned. Every time anyone feeds them, they get rewarded for this behavior, which is what perpetuates the behavior. You did the right thing by not giving them anything. In the end, it’s only hurtful to the animal who eventually could be shot for being “bold” and even “dangerous. Of course they aren’t dangerous but that’s what some folks believe. These coyotes need to stop being fed by anyone so that they can return to their normal wild behavior.


  62. Charles Wood
    Feb 25, 2015 @ 05:52:04

    My two experiences with feeding coyotes are both cases where the result was not at all what I had expected. Once I had some dead rats (from traps in a friends A/C ducting). To not waste them, I left them in my coyotes’ habitat. The rats were never consumed. A couple years earlier during a winter I thought that my coyotes’ field looked devoid of prey. I thought my coyote family needed my help.

    I hauled a large bag of dog food out to them and dumped it along the fence bordering their field. For days and days afterwards I passed that pile of untouched dog food. I worried that the coyotes hadn’t found it. After a week or more the only sign of coyote interest was a heap of drying diarrhea near the dog food. Seeing that I thought to myself “Great. Now I’ve done it. I’ve made them sick.” It took seemingly forever for that pile of dog food to disappear.

    I can’t fault myself for wanting to help my coyotes. As it turned out they didn’t need any help. At all.


  63. Joyce Gordon
    Feb 26, 2015 @ 21:24:59

    Do Coyotes scream? I live on an island in Washington state. There are 600 residents who have established homes on one to two acres and the rest of the island is natural. I am used to hearing Coyotes ‘yelp’ but what I heard last night across the street in thick underbrush was ‘screaming’ so loud it echoed off my neighbors home. This continued for 30-minutes. No let up, no ‘yelping’ just screams!

    Concerned an animal was injured, about 10-minutes into the screams I walked out into the very dark night with my flashlight crossed the street (200 feet from my home) and heard the bark of a domestic dog in the thick underbrush in the same location of the screams. I flashed light and yelled thinking the animal would leave but the screaming continued and I began to feel unsafe so I retreated to my home where around 10:30 pm just abruptly the screaming stopped. None of my neighbors came out to investigate. We have had sightings in past years of cougar.

    There is a healthy population of coyotes who are becoming far more relaxed in looking for food in daylight just wandering around like the deer that also populate our island. Our island has a neighborhood website and I posted the experience and received a reply the next day from a neighbor who lives less than a mile up the hill from me who said at 2:40 am he heard the same constant screaming in his wood lot and went to check on his Llama and goats thinking they were under attack which was not the case. Sorry this request for information is so long. The experience really rattled me. I love animals and called the sheriff to come help if there was an animal, wild or domestic in distress. He never came and the screaming stopped. What do you think I experienced? My neighbors heard the screams but apologetically said they didn’t want to get involved. Some neighbors!



  64. Kristen
    Feb 28, 2015 @ 07:06:00

    Hello Janet,

    I just came across your wonderful blog while trying to search out ways to use training to rehabilitate dogs who have been attacked by coyotes (this is a pretty impossible thing to find and I came up with nothing). At the end of April it will have been a year since two of my small dogs were attacked in our yard (Jack Russell, and Cocker Spaniel Mix). We live at the foothill of a mountain in Southern California. Until the attack, I was unaware of just how many sightings there had been and I was glad to read above that this is to protect them. This seems quite obvious to me now but at the time I was wishing for the knowledge to be public. I do not blame the coyotes for what happened, despite the fact that both of my dogs were badly hurt. One of the things I found most difficult was trying to explain to people why I did not want to hurt the coyotes. So I’m glad you have this blog in place!

    If you have the time I would love to know your feelings behind why the attack probably occurred. If you don’t have time or know the answer, no worries. I just figured I would give it a shot since it is clear to me you have insight and understanding that I do not.

    Here was the situation:

    Foothills (but higher on the mountain) only 9 streets up the mountain before it is wilderness, many houses around, House is on almost an acre of land, many fruit trees, pool and koi pond, many places to hide, around 8 pm at night in April, front and back yard are separated by 9 foot gates

    Dog one, front yard: Jack Russell in front yard with many bushes, the doctor said she was attacked by 2 coyotes. She probably would have been dinner but my dad came out calling for her and found her where she had wedged herself inside of a bush. She was covered in puncture wounds. She is the one who now doesn’t want to go on walks alone with me when it’s dark; dogs are smart.

    Dog two, back yard: Cocker spaniel/ corgi mix was found walking up the stairs with a large rip in his skin and puncture wounds, the doctor said he thought that it was 2-3 coyotes who attacked him.

    My question is whether or not you think it happened because they felt threatened or were hungry, etc…? Why there were so many in the yard at one time and in multiple parts of it? Do they hunt in packs? Any information would be most appreciated.

    I apologize for such a long posting :)


    • yipps
      Mar 03, 2015 @ 05:03:19

      Hi Kristen —

      Thanks for writing. I’m so sorry about your severe pet injuries. In an area where there is wildlife, no pets should ever be left out-of-doors unattended: this is the only way to prevent incidents. I wasn’t there, so it would be hard to tell exactly what was going on. I do know that Jack Russells are little attack dogs, so your JR may have gone after the coyote who entered his yard. The spaniel/corgi mix could also have chased coyotes, or the coyotes could have initiated the altercation since no human was around. The incident might also have been food related — small pets can be taken as prey if they are unattended — a coyote can’t possibly know the difference between wild prey and a pet — he just wants to eat. This is why pets should never be left unattended outside.

      Unless you were there to see it, you actually don’t know how many coyotes there were — the same coyote/s could have moved quickly from one side of the house to another. Coyotes often travel in family groups of 2 or 3. Less often in California, a larger family group will hunt deer together.

      The only way to rehabilitate your dogs is to walk them in an area without coyotes, maybe during daytime hours. It’s actually good that they have a healthy fear of coyotes — this will help protect them. Eventually the dogs will feel more comfortable when they feel safe.

      What to do to protect your pets? Please don’t leave your valued pets outside unsupervised, and when you walk them in a coyote area, keep them leashed and walk away from a coyote if you see one! Also learn how to shoo one off if it approaches your dog: this flyer might be helpful: or see the video “How To Shoo Off A Coyote”: All food attractants should be removed from the area, such as dog food and fallen fruit. Your koi pond, by the way, is an attractant with its water and the easy-to-get fish — you might think about removing it. And you might want to cut down or thin out some of the bushes in front of the house so that they can’t serve as hiding places.

      Hope this is helpful. Let me know if you have any questions. Janet


      • yipps
        Mar 03, 2015 @ 05:13:12

        [this reply was sent to me to my email account. Kristen gave me permission to post here, so that others might be able to see it]

        Hello Janet,

        First of all, I would like to say thank you for returning my message and for putting so much effort into your response. I understand that the coyotes meant no harm, but I know that this is not the case for many people. When people fear animals it can cause a lot of hurt. Creating fear is not my intention in reaching out to you.

        I could say I know my dogs but of course instinct is not something an owner can necessarily “know.” The Jack Russell may very well have been defensive but I couldn’t say; my Cocker spaniel is one of the dopiest dogs you will ever meet so I don’t think he would have chased them but again I will never know. I too am glad that my Jack Russell has a healthy fear of the coyotes and will work on walking them in another area, though it is increasingly difficult since the dry California weather has brought them out of the mountains and they are being spotted in the denser suburban city areas all around. Not their fault! :) I will watch the video and read the posting, thank you!

        You answered the question that I really had which was whether or not coyotes were often in family groups or larger groups at certain times of the year.

        As far as my dogs are concerned… we are now not letting them outside into the back or front yard until it is daylight without accompanying them and we are bringing them before dusk. Right now I am at home during the day so I can watch and check on them, but am trying to get a job and we will have to figure out other arrangements. They will probably be locked in the house or we will need to invest in a gated and roofed kennel. I was told that coyotes will many times come back to the place where they found a meal which makes a lot of sense. There are nights when I know they are in the yard because my Jack Russell will start whining in a way that she does for nothing else from smelling or hearing them even when I cannot. When the dogs were attacked, an animal control officer came by to place them under quarantine for 6 months, since one was not up to date on their rabies shot and so all 4 dogs (all small, and yes 4 is too many). The officer told us to look into an electric fence and coyote rollers. While we would like to put up rollers the cost for us to do so would be incredible since its almost an acre of property. The electric fence would have to be built up so high that we would have to make our house into a fortress…and I love animals so I don’t believe in barbed wire anything. *Have you heard of any other cheaper costing deterrents that could be placed on top of walls and fencing?

        Dog food is stored inside, but I will work on being better at picking up the fallen fruit and thinning out the bushes. I attached a picture of our koi pond and as you can see it is quite large not something that can be easily removed as its around 9 feet deep. We haven’t lost any fish yet but I know that doesn’t mean we wont in the future.

        Thank you for your time and for answering my questions.

        Hi Kristen —

        Thank you or your thoughtful response! I know you didn’t intend to promote fear — it’s very clear that you care about both dogs and coyotes. Thanks for sending the photo of the koi pond. It’s gorgeous and so integral to your home. That’s the kind of thing that makes the issue difficult.

        Hope everything works out with the rehabilitation. What your pups has been through is a little like post-traumatic stress syndrome: it takes a while to get over the life-threatening events.


  65. Michele Thomas
    May 12, 2015 @ 19:44:12

    Thank you for creating this blog and including practical and sensible information. I live in Central Oregon and stumbled across your blog when researching information about coyotes. This area is more rural than San Francisco and we have vast amounts of undeveloped public land, so there isn’t much interaction between humans and coyotes. I have two chihuahuas who love to walk off leash, so I take them hiking every Saturday and Sunday morning to the desert where we can walk together without encountering other people. We almost always see rabbits, lizards, mice, rock chucks, and deer which they will usually try to chase for a moment before 20-30 feet before I call them back. My dogs usually find coyote scat and demand to smell it thoroughly before moving on. Every once in a while, I see a coyote (usually it is looking down from a higher vantage point) and usually my dogs don’t notice because the coyote is being sly and my dogs have their noses to the ground. The coyotes here are small, have plenty of food, and don’t seem to want to engage. I leash my dogs in these situations as a precaution, although my dogs have healthy fear of the unknown. The coyotes never behaved as if they were stalking prey or seemed threatened or wanting to engage. We usually get to watch each other at a distance which is really wonderful.

    Sometimes we see birds of prey which makes me far more nervous for my dogs than the coyotes. I don’t usually hike too close to dawn or dusk, but a couple of times when I was out at dusk we have been swooped by a stunning Great Horned Owl who has flown close to us a few times………so silent, beautiful and SCARY!

    Thanks again for the great information about these interesting creatures.


    • yipps
      May 12, 2015 @ 19:49:05

      Hi Michele —

      Really nice comment! Thank you! And yes, watch those birds of prey: a few months ago, in a very urban park, a number of folks were standing around with their very tiny dogs off leash, and a Red Tail Hawk swooped down and took one. The owner screamed and everyone was bewildered: “How could this happen in such an urban park?” So watch your little dogs on your walks! And thank you for being supportive of coyotes! Janet


  66. Jerry Allison
    Jul 26, 2015 @ 13:33:17

    Just found your very interesting and extensive site. Thanks for doing this, as coyotes have spread from suburban to urban areas and there is much fear and prejudice to overcome. I invite you to my blog a visual and written investigation of the mythic Coyote the Trickster in the modern world. Could I interest you in swapping links?


  67. helpingheelers
    Jul 30, 2015 @ 06:07:27

    Hello! After reading many articles and watching the coexistence video, I’d like to ask a question that maybe you can shed some light on. We live in Tucson, AZ across from the Saguaro National Park. As a professional dog trainer, I see over 300 dogs per week, so I hear lots of stories. Coyote encounters here are constant and close. I normally can’t commute home without seeing several. I enjoy seeing them, and always keep my eyes peeled. I have never been at all scared or concerned until today. Have have been spotting a family unit cuting through our acre daily for about a month. we have an abandoned trailor home behind out property (neighbor) as well as two abandoned homes directly in from of our home. The one behind us has never been occupied, the two in front have been unoccupied for about two months. Our property is fenced only in the back part of our home so most of our acre is open. We have 6 foot chain link.

    For all intensive purposes we will call this family unit Mom, Dad and Juvenile. Mom looks like a regular desert coyote, but is really skinny and seems to look unhealthy. At first I thought it was mange because the tail is always straight down, and looks to have short, close fur as if it is growing back in or is missing hair, but it appears to just look “wet” all the time and lacks luster. Juvenile is really fun to watch. Normal healthy coyote pup. He always falls behind mom and dad and likes to hang out in front yard and in the neighborhood out in the open. He seems bold and playful. Dad is very unusual.
    Dad might actually be a Mexican Wolf. I think will we contact someone tomorrow about it. We have a sighthound called an Azawakh that stands above breed standard at 36 inches. This coyote is larger/taller. Very long legged, but just massive. Occasionally we have wolves and hybrids come into my workplace, and I would discribe dad as having an arctic wolf look with coyote markings. Dad moves differently then the other two. He is slow moving and deliberate. He is very confident and walks very close to the fence. He does not back away when approached. He seems indifferent and will do what he wants in his own time. They have been a joy to watch and have not even considered an issue until I actually thought about the implications of having a family of couptes living near or on the property. I did think that they could have a den nearby, but I was more excited about that than anything. We also got a puppy a few weeks ago and the activity especially along the fence has increased, but I assumed it was because the puppy is very small. We always accompany our 4 dogs in the yard and they are never left alone. This is more a toad and snake concern than it has ever been coyotes.

    Everyday this week daytime activity is increasing. They obviously are yippy so we hear them, but hardly see them in the evening. Lately they have been coming up to the fence when we are outside. A couple days ago mom stopped and watched about 50 feet away as a parked and walked from my car to our gate. I approached she didn’t budge. I decided it wasn’t smart to approach unless I was behind the fence, so I walked back to the gate and closed it behind me, and walked up to as closely as I could get to her. I was at the edge of the fence and only 10 or 15 feet away and she still stood her ground and after 30 seconds or so scampered off. At this point I’m still thinking they are casing the house for the 5 pound puppy, and to me this seems pretty normal behavior for our area. Mom is actually a bit more skiddish than the juvenile. One thing Mom likes to do is hang out on the raised covered porch of the abanded neighbors house. Our landscaper was out the other day, and he said, “wow, your neighbors have a pet coyote?” She looked so docile and calm laying on the porch with him just across the street he thought she was a pet!

    Today we had all four dogs in the yard. Dad came up no more than ten feet from the dogs and just watched. One dog barked, but we have been very strict on the dogs not barking and the other three just ran back and forth very excitaby. This is how I’m able to judge the size of “dad”. I walked right up to the fence because at this point I am a little worried he’s considering leaping over, or at least getting a little huffy or annoyed. I asked my husband to grab the little pup, and he did and brought her back on the porch for a better look at the action. While I have no concept of what a wild animal like a coyote might act like to display a threat (and this looked nothing like the cat poise I saw in another article you posted) I see many many dogs eech week. Training for so long, plus seeing so many aggressive dogs each week, you definitely get a feel for when to back off. Unless a dog is I’ll or sick, it never is aggressive truely, and this is kind of hard to explain unless you see it a lot, but the body was ridged and the eyes were fixed. Sometimes with very confident but fear aggressive and people reactivate dogs they sometimes shut down while working them. When you get this look and stance, you beeter back down, because a quick lunge and bite is absolutely about to happen. It’s “hands off”! I think that’s point where most people would say “it’s unprovoked” aggression, but if you are around it enough you know you have several seconds to move out of the way and break from a session, even if they seemed previously friendly or engaged. Anyway, long story short that was that look. It lasted a long time. And then he slowly trotted back to the brush behind the trailor behind our home.

    After reading and watching the video, I think but I’m not sure…coyotes may be checking out new puppy and keep passing the fence, but since this mostly occures without the puppy outside (dogs are hardly ever out. Very hot) they are going behind the abandoned trailor because in the thick brush behind our home (might as well be our yard, it totally looks like their property is part of ours) there is or was a den site. Mom was not just making herself at home across the street on the neighbors abandoned deck but can see her den site from a raised vantage point. And lastly, perhaps a strong territorial urge was looking more like “interest” to an untrained eye?

    We are kind of at a loss on what to do. The encounters seem more bold, and I’m not sure what the outcome or intention is going to be. We also are getting a ccouplevery small llambsin a couple weeks (dog herding stuff) and while we will do a coyote proof pen, they are staying in our small fenced yard and pen until we fully fence the rest of the acre. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. As you can tell, we really enjoy having them, and don’t want any hard to come to them. However, the encounter today was a little creepy, mostly due to the sheer size of this coyote. I work with much larger dogs on a daily baises and coyotes have NEVER ever bothered me, but I’ve been nervous outside in the pitch dark for potty breaks with the dogs all evening. What’s the best course of action?


    • yipps
      Jul 30, 2015 @ 20:28:56

      Hello to you!

      Thanks for sharing this interesting situation. Hopefully I can give you some insight into what is going on, and tools to move the situation to one which is more to your liking. If you want more, a Wildlife-Human Conflict Manager can be asked to call you, and, for a fee which would include plane trip and lodging, someone can come out to work with you on the “problem.” So let me know.

      Important points: It is pupping season, coyotes are totally territorial (more so during pupping season), and coyotes and dogs do not like each other. Coyote families lay claim to a territory from which all other coyotes are excluded. If coyote intruders come in, they are “messaged” with body language, eye-contact, and stance — things you know about from your dogs. To a coyote, dogs are a little like intruder coyotes — they are not welcome, but coyotes will allow them to “pass through” their territories uneventfully with owners close by. But if a dog is off on his own, has been messaged and doesn’t “get it” — if they don’t head the message in the body language — the coyotes quickly resort to nips at the dog’s haunches — moving dogs out, cattle-dog fashion. Small dogs, of course, could be taken as prey.

      Yes, “hands off!” is what a coyote is telling you, it’s not “unprovoked aggression” — coyotes aren’t out to attack everything in their path. In fact, they want to be left alone. But their survival depends on their keeping a safe territory for themselves: the land provides the resources they need to live, and it has to be physically safe for them.

      Coyotes LOVE to watch dogs. They do it in all the parks here in San Francisco. Besides being amusing for them, the coyote is assessing each dog as a potential danger and potential for hurting the coyote if there is an unexpected encounter.

      You said, “He walks very close to the fence.” Coyotes know that they can’t go through the fence and that your dogs cannot pursue them through the fence: it’s safe for everyone. If you don’t want them looking through the cyclone fence, you could cover the fence with a plastic type of fabric, which I know are made for fences.

      You say you are right up to the fence-line with them. If you don’t want them coming to the fence-line, you could collect urine and splash it at short intervals 25 feet or whatever distance you choose along a line parallel to the fence-line every few days until the coyotes get the message that this is the boundary. Coyotes don’t read physical barriers such as fences the way we do. Instead, they abide by urine markings. Coyotes test their boundaries constantly — there’s a constant push-pull between different territorial groups. You have to be firm in keeping them back. You can’t let them push you off your space, or even think they can do that. Once this “boundary” is established, you only need to repeat it occasionally.

      When you are out of your fenced area, don’t let the coyotes get at all close to you or the dogs. If a coyote comes too close, pick up a small rock and toss it in the coyote’s direction (not at him) as you approach him — he’ll run off. Also, if the coyote has his eyes fixed on you in a threatening posture, KEEP YOUR EYES GLUED ON HIM — your bluff is going to be stronger than his: make him move by approaching physically and be ready to throw a rock in his direction. HOWEVER, if you are close to a den site, the coyote will stand its ground no matter what — which is why you never want to go too far with shooing them away.

      You said, “He is very confident and does not back away when approached. He seems indifferent and will do what he wants in his own time.” Charles Wood wrote an excellent description about coyote communication between himself and a coyote. I recommend you look at it along with the posting it is attached to: Charles’ is a comment to that posting.

      I don’t think it really matters if there is Mexican Wolf in your male coyote. Jon Way, an expert in Eastern Coyotes, which have 60% coyote, 30% wolf, and 10% dog, says that the wolves are even more shy of humans than coyotes. Unless your dogs are running wild out in the distance, your presence with the dogs — especially four of them, which constitutes a “pack” — should be enough to keep coyotes away, along with knowing how to shoo a coyote off.

      Male and female coyotes enjoy elevated areas — on a rock, on a hill, on an abandoned porch (!) — to survey and keep an eye on things, AND to keep an eye on where they’ve tucked their pups away. This is normal behavior.

      I don’t know why the female looks “wet”. It could be that, because of the heat, she has found a place to cool off in water? At this time of year, coyotes have shed their winter coats and new, lighter coats are coming in. These new coats are very short right now and do seem to be lusterless. Also, coyote fur both falls off and comes in differently and at different rates with different coyotes: it may look patchy on some coyotes. June and July is when coyotes look their scrawniest. Mange should be fairly easy to identify. It stands out as patches of bald area on the skin. I have several postings on the blog which show the difference between mange and other bugs or shedding. I suggest you type in “mange” into the search box of and read the first few articles with photos. I have a coyote who has shed from his shoulder up, while his back end still has the winter coat, so he looks patchy, but there is no mange.

      Coyotes climb fences by jumping up and grabbing the top with their forepaws, then pulling their hind legs up onto the top of the fence and bounding down. A coyote can climb a 6 foot fence. Eight feet is the safest. However, you can buy rollers, specifically meant for keeping coyotes out, and put these along the top of your fence. The coyote’s front paws can’t grab the top of the fence because of the roll. If you want one-on-one help over the phone, I can put you in touch with an expert in the field, so please let me know. As I said in the video: “good fences make good neighbors”.

      Two important resources are: 1) — use the search box! and 2) which repeats some of the stuff in coyoteyipps, but might be easier to find.

      Okay, please let me know if you have questions or need something explained better, or a phone call. I’d love to be updated as time goes on!



      • yipps
        Jul 30, 2015 @ 20:34:41

        I should have added that right now is when pups are being taken for their first “distant” treks, after having been sequestered and protected in a more remote area. So you will be seeing them more, along with very protective parents. Janet

  68. helpingheelers
    Jul 31, 2015 @ 01:44:33

    Thanks Janet, great information!

    As an update to the female, after I typed this comment last night I read the article on shedding and coat changes, and she most definitely has just blown her coat, definitely not mange or anything else. That coupled with maybe nursing may be giving her the gaunt, unhealthy look.

    As far as the male, I was actually not concerned about safety if he is a Mexican Wolf, but preservion. I didn’t know if he would need to be tagged or radio collared, etc. They are endangered and there are very few of them. I have read that they are finding Mexican Wolf DNA in our coyotes! So fascinating! The Mexican Wolf only reaches 32 at withers, and this “coyote” is about 37 or 38 at withers. Our dog is measured often as we show him, and in a side by side comparison he is definitely taller than our 36 inch dog. What would make the coyote so tall? I also read the article on size perception and we thought he was large (like German Shepard size) of course didn’t want to make assumptions gauged at just the distance. We are absolutely sure with the dog in such close proximity to our Azawakh this is a very tall animal. Weight I couldn’t even begin to guess, but height we are absolutely sure on. The dog DNA?

    I’m excited to watch for family outings if there is a den and a chance to see the whole family!

    I will start shooing them off by making noise, etc. We have just approached them quietly as we didn’t want to scare or disturb them, but it is likely the best bet for both parties so I have to accept that!:)

    To clarify yes, you can approach and he does not move. Both Mom but especially the pup will jet off when you get about 8-10 feet away.

    To reiterate I don’t believe in unprovoked aggression in either dogs or wild canines, unless an animal is sick. I just used that as an example of what someone (client, etc) might call unprovoked, but the behavior was full of warning signs if you know what to look for.

    Sounds like they might really have a den behind this abandoned house. We may end up doing coyote rollers, but definitely in the area we keep the sheep. 8 foot fencing is actually illegal here unless you have the site permitted. The person we are buying the sheep from in California recommend we put our medium sized terrier (the only one that barks) in with the lambs to keep them away during the day and evening. She is obnoxious, but really would an Arizona coyote actually care about a medium sized (35-40) pound dog?

    I also read the article about toys, and we are leaving a couple tennis balls out a way from the fence. Guess I probably should be using urine as a repellent….tennis balls seem much more fun! I will see if I can get some pictures! In the meantime time we will try and help establish some boundaries as we do have a baby, a smallish dog and soon chickens and sheep.

    Thanks again,



    • yipps
      Jul 31, 2015 @ 06:46:02

      Hi Maggie —

      Fascinating about the taller coyote, especially since he might have in him Mexican Wolf, who is shorter.

      We’re on the same page regarding what is “aggressive”, but so many other folks have this wrong. Our Animal Care and Control has received phone calls about “aggressive” coyotes. When pressed to describe what was going on, the caller usually responds that the coyote is just standing there looking at the caller! This is something we need to help folks with. Please get this information out to your dog owner clients!! But your clients also need to know that coyotes and dogs don’t get along and must be kept far apart.

      Another possibility for fencing is barbed wire at the top of the fence leaning OUT of your property — it might be a little cheaper than the rollers. OR, yes, a guard dog, BUT, a medium sized terrier — same size as the coyote — might not be such a good idea. Coyotes are much more wary of critters bigger than themselves, and less so of those smaller than themselves.

      As for tennis balls, the coyotes will play with them — and you’ll have great fun watching them do this:

      Glad you are looking forward to meeting the whole coyote family. Hope you get to see some wonderful interactions. You’ll see that their family life is so similar to our own. Keep me updated with photos and stories, I would love to post them on the blog!!

      Until soon I hope! Janet


  69. Susan
    Oct 23, 2015 @ 03:59:35

    Great site, thanks!


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