We’re Seeing Coyotes Where We Didn’t Before — Seasonal Behavior

coyote walks during daylight on sidewalk close to a neighborhood

coyote walks during daylight on sidewalk close to a neighborhood

People have been seeing coyotes a little more than usual these days. There is no need for freaking out or hysteria: 1) the city is not being taken over by coyotes, and 2) coyotes are not a danger to humans! The only potential issues have to do with dogs and small pets. Dogs and coyotes don’t like each other: Dogs chase coyotes and coyotes see dogs as competitors for the resources in their territories. Smaller dogs or pets look like any other raccoon or opossum to a coyotes. Please keep your pets leashed or indoors. When walking your dog in a coyote area, be ready to leash and walk on and away the minute you see a coyote: distance is your best friend.

This is coyote mating season — that is why they are wandering more. In the San Francisco area we have 15 to 20 coyotes. Please compare to Chicago which has 2000 (yes, two thousand). If you see one, it will be very briefly. If you happen to see more, it is a family unit — a pack — a pack is a family unit. When there have been a number of sightings in any given area, it is always of the same coyotes — the same coyotes repeatedly visit certain areas. You cannot prevent them from their wanderings. Please be assured that coyotes are not dangerous to humans — they are not out to get you.  However, please do not feed them. Feeding them increases the possibility that they will return to your area. And please protect your pets.

Please read this here about: How To Handle A Coyote Encounter: A Primer. This information has been updated to help you know what to do should you encounter a coyote.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Barbara Knupp
    Jan 10, 2013 @ 21:48:34

    Oddly enough, we are seeing less coyotes though we did hear a great howl fest the other evening. I do think your message is a great service. Prior to living on the farm, our nonrural friends warned us about the coyote menace. Actually, the coyotes have caused no problems and we find them to be fascinating animals. To us, the coyote plays a role in nature’s balance. Without the coyote, we would be complaining about the number of mice and rabbits. We are aware that as the coyote adjusts to our presence, we must adjust to them. Our dogs go out into a fenced yard as a group. If no one is around, the dogs stay inside. Food is never left out. Our farm dog, about coyote size, sometimes takes off into the field – which worries me. However, she lived on her own for awhile and seems pretty savvy. Still, we ensure she is inside at night. When walking on the farm, I carry a cell phone, a whistle, and use a walking stick. That said, the coyotes seem intent on avoiding us and our dogs. Sometimes, I wonder if people strive for a sterile environment rather than enjoy the richness of nature. Deer, rabbits, and raccoons eat some of the crops. To a certain extent we can control it but overall its just nature’s tax for taking the land. Its a tax I don’t mind paying. .


    • yipps
      Jan 10, 2013 @ 22:32:20

      Thank you, Barbara, for writing this. During this season here, I’ve noticed that coyotes are not so present at their home bases because they are wandering elsewhere. This might be your situation: your farm may be their home base and they are wandering away from it for a while.

      In our urban area, simply seeing a coyote in an area where it had not been sighted before is cause for alarm in many people. Sensationalist stories spring up and take on lives of their own, yet few of those who spread the stories know anything about coyotes. They just feel that they should be afraid and call in authorities to do something drastic about it.

      This is what we are up against. I’m so glad to have your input on this blog! Thanks for being so supportive!! Janet

  2. Barbara Knupp
    Jan 17, 2013 @ 02:03:32

    Just after reading this article, a friend who lives in one of the highly populated suburbs outside Washington D.C., mentioned his surprise at seeing a coyote not too far from his house. Based on your article, I was able to provide some explanation as to the coyote’s behavior and how he should handle the situation. Thank goodness, he seemed more curious than alarmed to see a coyote in the suburbs of one of our largest cities.

    Thanks again. for all that you do for coyotes and those of us who live among them.


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