A new pile of debris, consisting of cardboard pieces in a pile, caught the attention of this 3-year-old female coyote as she headed to her favorite hideout retreat for the day. She approached the pile, as though she were hunting — slowly and carefully, almost tip-toeing in. Then, she turned her head from side to side as she listened for what kind of sounds the new “object” might make. The pile remained silent, so she decided to investigate closer. She snuck up, ever so carefully and hesitatingly, and attempted grabbing a section of the cardboard in her mouth. This caused another piece of cardboard to shift and move where she had not expected movement. She immediately flinched back, backed up, and then stood behind a planter, keeping an eye on the pile of cardboard. Nothing happened, but it wasn’t worth the risk to explore further. Her suspiciousness ruled supreme, and she skedaddled lickety-split away from the cardboard, around some bushes, and out of sight.
Coyotes are very aware, wary, and suspicious of any changes in their known environment. In this case, someone had dumped some cardboard outside their home. Even though the new material made her uneasy, the coyote was curious and checked it out. The unexplained movement in the cardboard served to seal her suspicions and she decided it was not worth the risk of further investigation. She’ll avoid the area for the next little while and then eventually get used to it, and go on as before. However, if I wanted to dissuade her from coming around again, all I would have to do is move the pile around. She would notice the change, and because of her innate suspiciousness, she would avoid the “possibly dangerous” pile.
To discourage coyotes from visiting your yard, you can tap into this coyote behavior. Place large objects in your yard. The change will make them uncomfortable. They may “check things out”, but they will move on and avoid the object. Every few days, rotate the object or substitute something different. Soon, the coyote will look for another, less disturbing pathway! We have Mary Paglieri to thank for making us all aware of this method of dissuading coyotes from visiting our yards regularly.