I’m Pretty Sure There’s A Coyote Den In My Backyard! An Email Exchange

Hi Janet — Late this morning, I am positive that I heard 2-3 coyote pups signing to each other behind our yard and the neighbors. Either way, this feels a little bit too close for comfort. They sounded maybe 50 or 75 yards away. It was definitely not the sound of average puppies… the only way I could describe it was like warbly singing, with crying yips.

Also, when I took my dog out back earlier this morning, I found fresh dog urine right next to the house — I was perplexed at the time because our yard isn’t accessible from the street, only from the back of the hill. But now after hearing the puppies, I think that one of them was in our yard.

I appreciate the majesty of coyotes, but I wonder if it’s safe to be outside with a den so close. And I worry about my dog, too, even though he is never ever unattended in the yard. My dog is large and old, but he’s still quite fiesty with other big dogs. I’m not sure how aggressive things might get with coyotes around.

I also have a large vegetable garden that goes straight up toward where I heard the pups. The garden is watered at night and morning — is it safe for me to be out there during puppy season? The top of our garden is really only about 15 yards away from where I heard them.

Sorry for the long note, but wildlife is not my expertise. My boyfriend chuckles because I run away when the trio of raccoons comes into the yard. I’m starting to feel a little trapped in the house…

Do you have any advice on safety? I would be grateful if you do…
_________________________________
Hi  —

I don’t think there is a den there. I know the coyotes that roam that area and they did not have pups. Coyotes, when they greet each other, have a very high pitched, puppy-sounding squeal — what you describe as “warbly singing with crying yips” — which often is mistaken for puppies. Please listen to recordings #2 and #5 on the Urbanwildness.com site: http://www.urbanwildness.com/urbanwildness.com/Coyote_Howling.html. There are more recordings on CoyoteYipps.com.

Please know that you are totally safe — coyotes do not care to deal with humans: you are bigger and smarter than they are, and they know it. Dogs are sometimes another story: coyotes are very territorial towards dogs, the same as they are with non-resident, interloper coyotes. If your dog is always attended out of doors, there should be no problem. If you, for any reason, need to scare a coyote away, make noise and throw a threatening caniption to let the coyote know that you really mean that you don’t want him around. If you want hands-on help to show you how to feel safe around coyotes, let me know. And feel free to contact me about any coyote issues which you are worried about. Please let me know if this has been at all helpful. Sincerely, Janet

PS: If it does happen to be a den area, I would be extremely surprised. It would mean that coyotes are there within another coyote’s territory. There is a female I’ve been following — an interloper — but I have not seen her with a male companion — she seems to be a loner. Whenever she is detected by the area’s resident coyotes, they drive her out. And, if there indeed is a den, you would continue to hear these coyote puppy sounds very frequently — probably every night. Please keep me posted! Janet
_________________________
Thanks, Janet! Your letter makes me feel better already. So helpful!

I was on your site for hours after I wrote you. Your photography is incredibly special. One of my housemates also heard the ‘song’ this morning and so together we listened to your amazing sound clips! We agreed that what we heard was a little different, so we found a clip on youtube that sounded most like what we had in the back yard, but our visitors sounded a little bit slower and more like they were calling to each other yard-to-yard. Here it is: http://youtu.be/xsQRNBm4_z4.

Really it was an amazing experience hearing that this morning, and if I wasn’t such a nervous-nellie then I probably would’ve thought to get my iphone memo recorder out (Next time I will record it, if there is a next time. . .)

Just thinking of it now — but there have been a couple nights in the last two weeks when it sounded like the raccoons might be fighting with a dog outside — there was that wet-snarly sound, growling, and a lot of screeching on the part of the raccoons. I wonder if that’s your area’s interloper?

I have to say, I have such respect for the wild life up here…to me, all dogs are angels on this earth, including and especially our native coyote friends. I will definitely write to you again if I hear or see anything. I’ll keep a journal, too. My desk faces the steep slope of our yard and I’ve got a great view on both sides — if I see anything you will be the first to know.

Very best!  Jo

PS: About your breath-taking video of Myca trying to play with your dog…you raised the most patient, loving, and well behaved dog that ever walked the earth. What a special day that must have been!

___________________________

Hi Jo —

Thank you for this wonderful email! Glad you liked the sites, but I’m especially happy that you are thrilled about your visitors!!

The coyotes may be in the area in hopes of snagging one of the young raccoons that you’ve been seeing. The growling you heard may have been a coyote confronting the mom raccoon — that may be why the coyotes are hanging around. It’s part of nature, even if it results in heartbreak. Yes, please keep a journal!  Janet

PS: On the you-tube video, those are not puppies, they are adults — that is what they sound like. Janet

___________________________

They just came back to sing! It’s a kind of quiet recording because my volume was a little low, I will try to do better next time. I can’t believe they are here again!!! Same spot, too!  High pitched greeting could be mistaken for puppies

____________________________

Hi Jo —

Yep, that’s the greeting! Very exciting!! Thank you so much for sending this to me!  Their behavior is quite different lately and I’m trying to figure out why. Also, if you do get a photo, let me know. I’ll probably be able to identify them if you get a face-on shot — their faces are as different as humans once you get to know them. If you want, I can give you a brief biography of them!

I would love it if you could keep me posted on your “coyote adventure”. And, would it be all right if I posted this on the blog? Let me know! And I look forward to hearing more!  Janet

__________________________

Janet,

I am SO sorry to bombard you with emails today, but I realize the audio recording I sent you earlier was from another email account and I didn’t even sign my name. I am just so excited to have heard the coyotes again that I’m bumbling on simple social graces.

I am re-attaching the audio so I can be sure you receive it, and also attaching  a photo of the garden with notations of where the coyotes seemed to be when they sang.

I am feeling a little protective over them now, just thinking that there might be a den — I hope the neighbors choose to leave them be, as I am. They are one of the most thrilling things I’ve ever heard in my life! Thank you for writing to me earlier, and for sharing your experiences on your website. I feel so much more at ease about my new ‘neighbors’. Because of you, Janet, I am officially in AWE of these animals! I will keep a journal of their howling schedule for your reference, too.  Thank you for sharing this amazing experience with me. Maybe we will have a chance to meet sometime depending on whether I continue to hear them singing! I think you might have some new coyotes in this area to photograph!

Jo

_______________________

Hi Jo —

You are not bombarding me, I’m thrilled about this, too! Please don’t get exciting about pups — I don’t think there are any. Coyotes would never den in a garden where you work. I think they’re there because they’ve found the raccoon. That is my hunch. But let’s see how it plays out. And yes, if it does turn out to be a den, I would not tell anyone — that’s the safest thing to do, and I will keep your secret! And, yes, hope to meet you sometime!  Janet

_______________________

Hi Janet, The coyote experience has been incredible today! Young and old…they are magnificent. I hope it continues! You’re wonderful, Janet,

Jo

__________________________

Hi Jo —

If I post your stuff I would not specify where it is — best to keep location vague. Notice that none of my postings specify place. The point is the story: that you were a little apprehensive, that you thought it might be pups and finally that you were thrilled and even got a recording. Thanks, Jo!  Janet

_________________________

The strangest thing happened yesterday…our wildlife ‘regulars’ returned to the yard. I realize I didn’t tell you that many of them had been m.i.a for a week, including the three raccoons. I truly thought my beloved Scrub Jays had been eaten by the raccoons. The Jays had been nesting in our yard, and since last week, I saw only one just hopping from high-spot to high-spot looking for the others. One day it even flew directly into my window! This is extremely bizarre behavior for our Jays, and I was totally horrified to see it distressed. BUT…late yesterday afternoon, the Jays came back AND in broad daylight one of the raccoons wandered through the yard…also very unusual. The raccoon might have been limping, but hard to tell. I do worry about the other two raccoons now…they were thick as thieves. I also hate to think of any creature alone in the world.

I bet you were right to say that it has been hunting (not a den) that brought the coyotes here.

Meantime, I’ve still got my audio recorder on the desk, just in case….

Jo

17 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. colby
    Jun 02, 2012 @ 17:17:36

    Hi Janet. I’m amazed by the daytime
    activity you encounter, as evidenced by
    your pics…outstanding!! Here in Colorado
    , Denver, my only opportunity for pics is at
    night. How can you identify gender? Thanks! Colby

    Reply

    • yipps
      Jun 02, 2012 @ 17:37:27

      Hi Colby —

      In fact, there isn’t a whole lot of daytime activity. I have an ISO of 6400, so even in very faint light I can get some photos. Posture during urination is one way of distinguishing gender.

  2. D
    Jun 19, 2012 @ 04:04:21

    Howdy – D here, in NC….Just after 11pm, my dogs & I were treated to group yipping, yelping & howling of local coyotes – WOOT! Nature freak here – searched online for info bec we hear they tend to be loners, so I wanted to know how then, do we hear such groups & why? Found your site first – Thanks!! Many here kill the beautiful coyotes whilst encouraging others to do so = breaks my heart to bits. Anyhoo, need to sleep….but wanted to thank you for your site. “My group” sounded exactly like one of your recordings. Have seen a solitary one twice, that is all so far….I love ALL of our critters both wild & domestic. Adore too, other humans who share this love. SO many of our world’s precious wildlife get such a bad & undeserved rap, continually perpetuated…But then, you know that already…Thanks for you all – this site looks awesome! I will be back. :)

    Reply

    • yipps
      Jun 19, 2012 @ 05:46:40

      Hi D — Really enjoyed your comment. Thank you for writing! Coyotes are very individualistic — it is very hard to generalize about them. So some are loners, some live in pairs, and then, of course, there are families — a family is a pack, which might include pups from the present litter, and some juveniles from the previous litter. When juveniles leave home, they usually become loners, at least for a while.

      An interesting thing about a group of two or more howling, is that it often sounds like many more than it really is. Once, as I listened to what I knew to be a family of three yipping away, someone listening with me told me that they could distinguish seven distinct voices — but, of course, this was not so. But it sure sounded like more!

      I hope we can turn the tide against the coyote killers. Coyotes are extremely bright and have fabulous family lives, where they display heaps of care and affection and loyalty. Let’s spread the good word and stand up for them! The more of us that do so, the more we will be heard. Thanks again, D, for caring!

  3. D
    Jun 19, 2012 @ 20:49:41

    Well thank YOU “Yipps”, for affirmations & welcoming message! I do, and will always, stand up for them all – coyotes inclusive. Sometime it feels like a losing battle indeed, yet we who love them will never give up….I have been looked at as if insane when expressing my love of bear, wolf, coyotes etc and am rather used to that, albeit incredibly sad. …And so, again, I embrace & value kindred souls who adore these creatures. Yes, they need us to be their voice in the human world – because we adore and love THEIR voices! I shudder to imagine a world w/out wildlife, including the persecuted coyote – soooo beautiful indeed! Thanks to YOU for caring as well – thanks for this website – will be back, often! You have put a lot of work into this site – will peruse, and learn & pass on this site to others….See ya soon! :)

    Reply

  4. Pat
    Jan 24, 2013 @ 01:58:46

    Hi
    I need some information. I live off a private Roadway on 5 acres. I have always seen the foxes, deer and hear the coyote’s. Happy to know they seemed to stay on the tehr side of the stream.
    Not so much now. My goodendoodle saw one 15 feet off his chicken wire fenced in area in the back yard. The coyote just starred for over 15 minutes until I took my dog in the house. My dog has been very nervousabout going i the back yard since. Three days later I notice a pile of poop, INSIDE hte fnece area, and my dog noticed it and started to eat it…I knew it wasn’t his! (It had rabbit fur in it, which most likely was favorable to my dog).
    Now, the dilemna, how to I convince the coyote’s that they can’t build a home 20 feet from my house, 10 feet away form my backyard fence? I want to be kind, but I do not trust them being that close for children, my dog or other people in my backyard, especially if they end up with pups.
    Any thoughts to making this not a good area? I think they might have found an old fox den in the embankment, and moved in.
    pat

    Reply

    • yipps
      Jan 24, 2013 @ 14:01:44

      Hi Pat —

      I’ve asked a wildlife conflict manager about this and am waiting for a reply. Until we hear from her, please get rid of any food sources which exist in the yard. I have two ideas about how they might be persuaded to move from their present location: 1) Could go over there every day for a week or so and investigate? Your constant “intrusion” might make them want to relocate. 3) Beepers are made that emit high pitched, ultrasonic bursts of noise for getting rid of rats in homes. I’m wondering if placing such a device right at that location might dissuade them from staying? I’ll follow up as soon as I hear back from the behaviorist. Janet

    • yipps
      Jan 25, 2013 @ 04:00:15

      Hi Pat —

      I heard back from Mary, the wildlife conflict manager. She said to be patient, that you should keep an eye out to see if the coyote comes back to mark (poop). Leaving poop could mean that it is marking its territory — but if it’s marking its territory, over the next several weeks it’ll be back often. Otherwise, the coyote could have been just passing through. You do need to reinforce your chicken wire fence: this is something you could do now. Please let us know if the coyote keeps returning. Janet

  5. lavina martinez
    Aug 03, 2013 @ 04:23:38

    Hi my name is Lavina. I loved your story and am intrested in knowing more about coyotes. Over the past couple of months we have seen a couple on our street but ussually late at night, and recently we have have found alot of coyote poop in our yard and they are coming closer. One actually stuck its head in the fence and looked at us — like 2 feet away. It was kind of scary, but it had the most amazing eyes. Wish I would have had a camera :) Anyway should I be afraid? I think they are coming closer because the forest is being logged across the river. I don’t want them to be hurt or killed. I know it’s not their fault for being chased out of their natural habitat but at the same time it scares me. Any info will be appreciated.

    Reply

    • yipps
      Aug 03, 2013 @ 05:06:13

      Hi Lavina —

      Thank you for writing! I’m so glad you like coyotes! For a quick summary about them, please watch the video I made on “Coyotes as Neighbors” http://youtu.be/euG7R11aXq0.

      No, you don’t need to be afraid. However, it’s important for us all to help keep them wild. That way they are happiest and safest. To keep them wild, keep your distance and don’t attract them with food. You know, they say “A fed coyote is a dead coyote”. The reason for this is that feeding them tames them so they stop being afraid of people, and then they approach other people who don’t want to be approached, and those people report that they’ve seen “an aggressive” coyote, which the authorities then come out and kill. To begin with, you could remove any food sources from your yard.

      Yes, they are coming closer because of logging in the forest. Do you think the coyotes are in danger from people around where you live? If you give me some information, maybe we can work together to try to change this. For instance, what state do you live in? Do you live in a rural area, a city, or in the country? I look forward to hearing more from you! Janet

    • lavina martinez
      Aug 03, 2013 @ 05:41:33

      I live in Washington state in a small town called Bucoda. Also we always keep our garbage and food picked up but I can’t say the same thing about our neighbor she constantly puts food in the field veges raw meat bread ect. I have warned city hall about it but they won’t do anything they are pretty uncooperative.

  6. lavina martinez
    Aug 03, 2013 @ 05:47:44

    We live in town of 700 people so to me its pretty small and perfect habitat for nocturnal animals, especially because there are lots of field mice and stray cats.

    Reply

  7. lavina martinez
    Aug 03, 2013 @ 05:50:30

    Oh also if my neighbors where to see a coyote they would shoot it because they claim it is open season on coyotes plus they are protecting their goats and pigs.

    Reply

    • yipps
      Aug 03, 2013 @ 13:41:19

      Hi Lavina —

      It might be interesting to know that coyotes now live in almost all neighborhoods throughout North America: Chicago has 2000 of them. Also, they are not nocturnal — however, they tend to be out during the darker hours out of choice, in order to avoid people.

      So I see your neighbors are the ones attracting the coyotes. It’s going to be a difficult battle to change their minds if they already hate coyotes, but maybe you could give it a try? I’ll brainstorm about it and get back to you. Janet

    • lavina martinez
      Aug 03, 2013 @ 19:01:29

      Thank you so much :) I don’t think my neighbor will see a coyote any time soon they always go to bed early.

  8. Robert
    Sep 23, 2015 @ 04:53:47

    Hi I I heard some coyotes in my grandma’s backyard what should I do

    Reply

    • yipps
      Sep 23, 2015 @ 12:13:37

      Hi Robert —

      Thank you for writing. Coyotes trek through neighborhoods all the time. This is perfectly normal coyote behavior and can be ignored by you unless there is a problem. If you don’t want them coming around, make sure that no food is left out which could attract them, including dog food or bird food which attracts other animals.

      Please watch the video, “Coyotes As Neighbors”, at the top of the coyoteyipps page to learn a little about them. Coyotes will not approach people unless they are fed or cornered, but pets need to be protected.

      Could you tell me a little more about the situation, such as if there are pets or farm animals around, if there are fences and what kind of fences you have, and what kind of neighborhood you are in (for instance, are you out in a rural area or in a city)?

      Janet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s