Conflicts: A Research Perspective | Urban Coyote Research (2023)

  1. All about coyotes
  2. Conflicts: A Research Perspective

Conflicts: A Research Perspective | Urban Coyote Research (1)

Attacks in the Chicago Metropolitan Area

Conflicts: A Research Perspective | Urban Coyote Research (2)

Coyote attacks on domestic pets

Coyote Attacks on Pets

One of the worst conflicts between people and coyotes is the occasional attack on a domestic pet by a coyote. In some areas frequented by coyotes, it is not difficult to find an account of a pet attack or missing cat (presumed to have been eaten by a coyote) in the local newspaper. To increase our understanding of coyote attacks on domestic pets, we searched newspaper databases for articles on pet attacks in the Chicago metropolitan area. Through these articles, we found records of 70 attacks on dogs, 10 attacks on cats, and alleged attacks on a duck and pig. Between 1990 and 2004, the number of attacks on pets in the Chicago metropolitan area increased from 0-2 attacks per year to 6-14 reported attacks per year. We also found more accounts of attacks during the late fall, winter, and early spring than during the warmer months of the year. Cities and townships with the most reported attacks were Arlington Heights, Chicago, Geneva, North Shore, and Palatine.

Conflicts: A Research Perspective | Urban Coyote Research (3)

Coyote attacks on domestic dogs by breed

(Video) Coyote Conflict in Los Angeles - The UCANR Hazing Study (Documentary)

Attacks on Dogs

Almost 30 different breeds of dog were reported to have been attacked by coyotes. Smaller breed dogs were attacked more often than medium and large sized dogs, with 20 small breeds, 3 medium breeds, and 6 large breeds attacked. Although smaller breeds are more commonly attacked, larger breeds, such as Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers, have also been attacked in the Chicago metropolitan area. Larger breeds of dog were usually attacked by two or more coyotes, often alpha pairs, at a time.

Attacks on smaller dog breeds were more often fatal (although some attacks on larger breeds were fatal as well) and usually the attack involved a single coyote. Yorkshire terriers and Shih Tzus were the breeds most commonly attacked (6 attacks each), followed by Jack Russell terriers and Labrador Retrievers (5 attacks each), and boxers and poodles (4 attacks each). Dogs were more commonly attacked during the winter months than during the spring and summer which corresponds to the breeding season of the coyote. Dogs were attacked while outside in their backyard (both alone and in the presence of their owner) and also while being walked by their owner in a park.

Conflicts: A Research Perspective | Urban Coyote Research (4)

Seasonal variations in coyote attacks on dogs

What can you do? If you are aware of coyotes in your neighborhood, it is important to exhibit caution when leaving your dog outdoors (especially if it is a small breed). Fences can help to keep coyotes out of your yard but coyotes have been known to jump over fences. The best fences for keeping out coyotes are at least six feet tall and have a roll bar on top. Also, if you are walking your dog in a park frequented by coyotes, you should always keep your pet on leash and perhaps carry a walking stick, noise maker, or mace to fend off a possible attack. After all, it's not just coyotes that you may encounter; remember that loose domestic dogs pose a much greater risk of attack than coyotes. Be aware of seasonal variations in behavior and most importantly, make sure that no one in your neighborhood is attracting coyotes by leaving food outdoors.

Attacks on Cats

Although coyotes do attack and kill domestic cats in the Chicago area, cat attacks are often more difficult to substantiate than dog attacks. Of the 10 cat attacks reported in the Chicago metropolitan area, almost half were lost cats that the owners assumed were eaten by coyotes (but attacks were not confirmed). The best way to ensure that your cat is not attacked by a coyote is to keep it indoors at all times. If you must let your cat outside, it is important not to leave food outside for your cat (or for other cats in the neighborhood). Food left outside may attract coyotes, which may then attack your cat (or dog).

Coyote Attacks on Humans

Conflicts: A Research Perspective | Urban Coyote Research (5)

Attacks on humans by state

The most extreme form of conflict between humans and coyotes concerns coyote attacks on people. We conducted an analysis of coyote attacks throughout the United States and Canada between 1985 and 2006 in order to investigate the frequency and characteristics of these attacks. Prior to this, an analysis of coyote attacks on people had only been completed for California and other portions of the western U.S. and Canada. We searched newspaper articles and scientific journals for attack accounts, and also contacted representatives from state wildlife agencies to verify attack details and receive information on additional attacks. In our search, we only included incidents in which humans were bitten by a coyote (this helped to standardize our definition of an attack and decrease the amount of speculation sometimes found in media articles).

We located accounts of 142 coyote attack incidents, resulting in 159 human victims. These attacks took place over a wide geographic area, including 14 states in the U.S. and 4 provinces in Canada. Most attacks, however, occurred in the western U.S., with almost half of the attacks occurring in California and another large portion (14%) occurring in Arizona. We did not find records of any attacks on humans within the Chicago metropolitan area (or even within the state of Illinois).

(Video) Ellie Mock: Coyote-Human Conflicts in Urban Areas

Attack Demographics

We also investigated the demographics of attack victims. We found that there was no difference in the frequency of attacks between women and men or between adults and children. However, children were the victims of the most serious attacks.

Nature of Attacks

Conflicts: A Research Perspective | Urban Coyote Research (6)

Nature of attacks

Attacks generally fell into 5 categories:

  1. Defensive (the coyote felt threatened and was defending itself, pups, or a den)
  2. Rabid (the coyote was captured, tested, and diagnosed with rabies)
  3. Pet-related (the coyote attacked a person who was walking a pet, trying to save a pet from a coyote attack, or was just near a domestic pet at the time of attack)
  4. Investigative (the coyote bit a sleeping or resting person, testing it as a possible prey source)
  5. Predatory (the coyote directly and aggressively pursued and bit the victim)

We classified 37% of attacks as Predatory, 22% as Investigative, 7% as Rabid, 6% as Pet-related, and 4% as Defensive (the other 24% could not be classified due to a lack of details). Predatory attacks resulted in the most serious injuries.

(Video) Coyotes, Conflict, and Cities: Exploring the Role of Social Heterogeneity in Shaping Coyote Behavior

Patterns of Attacks

To determine patterns in the circumstances of attacks, we analyzed the activities of victims prior to attack. Most victims were doing some sort of recreational activity (such as camping, walking, or biking) when they were attacked. Many victims were also relaxing outside their homes, sitting on porches, grilling out, or sleeping outside. The majority of attacks occurred outside the residence of the victim or in a park.

We also investigated the timing of attack incidents. We found that slightly more attacks occurred during the months of January through April (the breeding season for coyotes) than in other months. We did not find a meaningful difference in the number of attacks occurring during daytime versus nighttime hours.

Outcomes of Attacks

Most victims of coyote attacks were attacked by seemingly healthy coyotes; only 15 victims were bitten by rabid coyotes. Most victims did not suffer serious injuries from the attack. The majority of attack victims were able to run away or scare off the coyote and stop the attack by yelling or throwing objects at it. Those that did suffer the most serious injuries were children.

Only two fatal coyote attacks in the U.S. and Canada have been recorded in modern history: in 1981, a 3-year old female in California died of injuries sustained from a coyote attack, and most recently in 2009, a 19-year old female was fatally attacked by a group of eastern coyotes while hiking alone in Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia.

In almost a third of the reported attack cases, it was known that coyotes were being fed (either intentionally or accidentally) near the attack site. One victim was bitten while feeding a coyote and another was bitten by a coyote that was being fed by her parents. After speaking to wildlife officials in areas of known coyote attacks on humans, we strongly suspect that wildlife feeding was occurring in the locations of many of the other attacks, even though this was not documented.

Preventing Coyote Attacks

Although we were able to gather some useful insights from our research of coyote attacks within the United States and Canada, we were limited by the source of our data because records of coyote attacks throughout the U.S. and Canada are often inaccessible and/or unreliable. Some of the accounts that we located contained few details about the coyote attack and we also suspect that additional incidents may have gone unreported or were not reflected in the media.

We feel that a standardized reporting system of coyote attacks throughout North America would be extremely helpful for further informing the details and circumstances of coyote attacks on humans and therefore preventing future attacks.

Coyote info

Coyotes Around the Continent

Coyote info

How to Avoid Conflicts with Coyotes

Six Easy Steps to Avoid Conflicts


Coyote Attacks on Humans in the US and Canada

(Video) Preventing Coyote Conflicts

(Video) The Urban Coyote Research Project- What is it?


What causes human coyote conflict? ›

Coyote attacks on people

In many human attack incidents, it turns out that the offending coyote was being fed by people. In many other instances, people were bitten while trying to rescue their free-roaming pet from a coyote attack. Less often, people are bitten by cornered coyotes, or even more rarely, rabid coyotes.

How do you deal with urban coyotes? ›

If you see a coyote during the daytime, you should exhibit caution, as that coyote may have become habituated to humans (and may be more likely to attack). If you are approached by a coyote, you should yell, wave your arms, and/or throw something at the coyote (do not run away).

What is the Cook County Urban Coyote Research Program? ›

The Cook County Coyote Project is a comprehensive study of coyotes in Chicago metropolitan areas. Also known as the Urban Coyote Research Program, the study was initiated in 2000 as a non-biased attempt to address shortcomings in urban coyote ecology information and management; the Coyote Project is still underway.

What are the odds of being attacked by a coyote? ›

Coyote attacks on people are extremely rare. There have been a small number of attacks on people in the U.S. and Canada, with most of the attacks involving small children under 5 years of age.

What is the human impact on the coyote? ›

Once coyotes associate human buildings or yards with food, they may increase daytime activities and thus are seen more easily by people. In those areas in southern California where attacks have been common, researchers have reported a higher frequency of human-related food in the diet of nuisance coyotes.

What problems do coyotes cause? ›

Coyotes can cause damage to a variety of resources, including livestock, poul- try, and crops such as watermelons. They sometimes prey on pets and are a threat to public health and safety when they frequent airport runways and residential areas, and act as carriers of rabies.

What is the most effective coyote control? ›

Hazing. Hazing is a the most effective method, making use of deterrents to move an animal out of an area or discourage an undesirable behavior or activity. Hazing can help maintain a coyote's fear of humans and deter them from backyards and play spaces.

What is the best defense against coyotes? ›

If you encounter a coyote and it doesn't run away, don't turn around, as it can make you look like prey. Instead, you should make a loud noise or wave your hands in the air. You can also throw something at the coyote to scare it off.

What is the best way to keep coyotes away? ›

Tips for Keeping Coyotes Away
  1. Keep garbage properly contained.
  2. Do not feed pets outside or keep pet food outdoors.
  3. Keep grills cleaned and covered.
  4. Remove standing water sources, such as old tires or watering cans.
  5. Dispose of fruit that has fallen from trees.
  6. Remove bird feeders. ...
  7. Dispose of dead wildlife.

What is the importance of urban coyotes? ›

Thus, coyotes provide benefits to both urban and rural communities by keeping rodent and lagomorph populations in check. City dwellers enjoy cleaner environments (and avoid having to use rat poisons that can impact non-target animals).

What is Project coyote? ›

Project Coyote, a national non-profit organization based in Northern California, is a North American coalition of scientists, educators, ranchers and citizen leaders promoting compassionate conservation and coexistence between people and wildlife through education, science and advocacy.

Can you shoot coyotes in Chicago? ›

Pursuant to (520 ILCS 5/2.30) Coyotes may be hunted year-round except during firearm deer season. Only licensed deer hunters may take coyotes. They may be trapped from November through January.

Are coyotes afraid of people? ›

Coyotes are naturally afraid of humans, but as they get used to living with humans they get less and less fearful, and can become aggressive. Pets, like dogs and cats, look like tasty treats to coyotes, as well.

Does killing coyotes make more coyotes? ›

Indiscriminately killing coyotes does not reduce their populations—in fact, it can have the opposite effect. There is no credible evidence that indiscriminate killing of coyotes succeeds in increasing the abundance of game species such as deer or pheasants.

What to do if a coyote follows you? ›

If a coyote comes too close, follows you for too long, acts overly assertive or does not respond to hazing, report the coyote to city authorities. The coyote may have become habituated to humans or is being fed by someone, which can result in aggressive behavior.

What human activities have helped cause the spread of coyotes? ›

Bird feeders and fallen fruit around homes may help increase the abundance of these prey, consequently attracting coyotes into developed areas. to take advantage of human-related food, such as pet food left outside, and meat and fish scraps in garbage cans or compost piles.

Are coyotes helpful or harmful to humans? ›

Coyotes are wild animals that are potentially dangerous, but coyote attacks against grown humans are rare. Coyotes should be avoided and treated with caution. They can be very dangerous to children and pets, but following prevention tips can keep you, your family and your pets safe.

What are coyotes weaknesses? ›

Swift, tough and wily, the coyote has only 2 known weaknesses: it sleeps heavily and looks back while fleeing, both of which the savvy hunter can take advantage of.

How are coyotes being controlled? ›

These include calling and shooting, and/or DIY or professional trapping using leg-hold, cage traps or snares. Early spring control can be effective just before and after litter whelping, when two generations can be eliminated.

What are the disadvantages of hunting? ›

7 Reasons Why Hunting Is Wrong
  • It causes a lot of suffering and death. ...
  • Like humans, animals want to live. ...
  • It can lead to violence against humans. ...
  • Animals don't always die right after they're shot. ...
  • It tears animal families apart. ...
  • Some hunters say that hunting “keeps nature in balance,” but that's not true.

What do coyotes like the most? ›

They eat rabbits, carrion (dead animals), rodents, deer (usually fawns), insects (such as grasshoppers), livestock and poultry. Coyotes eat fruit including berries and watermelons. They will also eat cats and dogs.

What sounds scare away coyotes? ›

The Department of Wildlife also says to bring a noisemaker with you on your walks whether it be a whistle or even an air horn. Any type of loud noise should scare them away.

Do stun guns scare coyotes? ›

The stun sound has been enough to scare coyotes, dogs and skunks away during my early morning walks with my small dog.

What kills coyotes in the wild? ›

Cougars, wolves, grizzly bears and black bears are known to kill coyotes, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service. Golden eagles have been known to swoop down and take young coyotes.

How can we protect coyotes from farm animals? ›

Here are seven tips you can use to protect your investment and keep your livestock safe.
  1. Get a Guardian Animal. ...
  2. Implement a Buddy System. ...
  3. Invest in Fencing Solutions. ...
  4. Switch Up Your Agricultural Practices. ...
  5. Provide Housing. ...
  6. Disrupt the Predator's Schedule. ...
  7. Maintain Healthy Prey Population.
Oct 1, 2021

Are coyotes in urban areas a problem? ›

Coyotes have long inhabited rural areas, but they now are a growing problem near cities and in the suburbs.

Why is coyote important in Native American culture? ›

Coyote, in the mythology and folklore of the North American Plains, California, and Southwest Indians, the chief animal of the age before humans. Coyote's exploits as a creator, lover, magician, glutton, and trickster are celebrated in a vast number of oral tales (see trickster tale).

Why are coyotes becoming more common? ›

For eons, coyotes roamed what is now the western United States, with its wide-open plains. Then came European settlers, who cut down forests for farms and ranches in a steady east-west march. Along the way, they killed large predators such as pumas and wolves to protect livestock and for their own safety.

What is the goal of the LA Urban coyote Project? ›

The LA Urban Coyote Project was started by National Park Service researchers at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area to gain a better understanding of coyotes living in urban areas and provide valuable information to partner agencies and the public.

Why is it called coyote? ›

The word coyote is Mexican Spanish, from an Aztec root, cóyotl, or "trickster." The scientific name of the coyote is Canis latrans, "barking dog" in Latin. Another informal meaning of coyote, used mainly in the US southwest and Mexico, is a smuggler of illegal immigrants.

How did the coyote steal fire? ›

Coyote faces the monstrous fire beings and, with the help of squirrel, chipmunk and frog, brings fire to the freezing people. When you live outside in the wild, cold weather can be fatal. In this story, Coyote realises that he can help the freezing humans of his community by bringing them fire.

Can I hunt on my own land without a license in Illinois? ›

In general, anyone wishing to hunt in Illinois is required to purchase a hunting license. There are some exceptions to this requirement. Anyone born after January 1, 1980, will need to complete a Hunter Safety Education Course before obtaining a hunting license. Proof of completion must be available while hunting.

Why am I not catching coyotes in my traps? ›

Using Too Much Lure and/or Bait

One of the top two mistakes I see beginners make that will educate a coyote quickly is using too much lure/bait, thinking that magic potion is the key. The key to catching coyotes is setting properly bedded traps in the right location.

Can coyotes go in your backyard? ›

The main reason a coyote will enter a yard or go to the trouble of scaling or jumping fences is that something in that yard is attractive to them. Those things may include: Open garbage cans. Pet food and water bowls left out.

Do coyotes cry? ›

Coyotes use howling as a means of communication and to establish territory. Howling can also serve to bring members of a pack together and coordinate hunting efforts. The sound of a coyote howling can travel long distances, often several miles, making it an effective way for coyotes to communicate over large areas.

Are coyotes afraid of fire? ›

Wild animals that get repelled by campfires

Many different species of wildlife can get deterred by campfires, such as rats, squirrels, skunks, coyotes, wolves, and feral dogs.

Do coyotes like to be pet? ›

Coyotes are difficult to domesticate like dogs. This is because they have evolved to survive in the wild. Many people wish to raise coyotes as pets, however wild animals like coyotes are difficult to domesticate like dogs. They have evolved feral impulses to survive in the wild.

Does killing coyotes help deer? ›

The elimination of coyotes has even doubled the survival of fawns in some cases. The removal of predators, especially coyotes, can significantly increase the deer population. If deer in an area are scarce due to coyotes, hunters can help keep these fawn slayers in check.

Should I shoot coyotes? ›

Coyote hunting is a great way to stay outdoors and active during the “off season.” You become more familiar with the area, walking and getting to know the terrain better than ever. While you're out after coyotes, you are also able to scout for other wild game, like turkeys.

Do coyotes hunt for fun? ›

Coyotes are known to be highly adaptable to both urban and suburban areas. While they're generally assumed to kill to eat, it's possible that they may adapt to their surroundings and begin killing for fun when food is easily available.

Can dogs be half coyote? ›

Coyotes and dogs are related, and they are biologically capable of producing hybrid litters. Coydogs have been raised in captivity. Genetic surveys of wild coyotes have rarely documented evidence of dogs in the genetic makeup of coyotes, despite domestic dogs and coyotes sharing the continent for the past 9,000 years.

Can dogs sense coyotes? ›

Dogs can smell and communicate with wildlife, including coyotes, via howling, barking, whimpering, sniffing, eye contact, and body language. Barking can pique a coyote's interest, though the sound is more likely to scare a coyote away after they notice a human presence.

Do coyotes chase humans? ›

Coyotes are losing their fear of humans, which is further worsened by people intentionally or unintentionally feeding coyotes. In such situations, some coyotes have begun to act aggressively toward humans, chasing joggers and bicyclists, confronting people walking their dogs, and stalking small children.

What are the main causes of human wildlife conflict? ›

Why is human-wildlife conflict on the rise? As human populations and demand for space continue to grow, people and wildlife are increasingly interacting and competing for resources, which can lead to increased human-wildlife conflict.

What is the impact of human animal conflict? ›

Man animal conflict leads to crop damage, animal deaths, loss of human life, injuries to people, injuries to wildlife, livestock depredation, and low compensation for such incidents further leads to degraded living standards of the affected population.

How can we control wildlife conflict? ›

Human-Wildlife conflict can be reduced by following certain measures:
  1. Creating more Protected Areas and buffer zones.
  2. Steps must be taken to enhance the safety of people and wildlife and to create mutual benefits of coexistence.
  3. Local communities can also participate in devising measures to reduce this conflict.

What is the nature of conflict? ›

By its very nature, conflict is a process of polarization and receding opportunity. When two people or parties are in conflict, they characteristically move to opposite sides of an issue. They fortify their position by overstating their case, creating further distance between themselves.

How are coyotes affected by climate change? ›

Drought and heat waves are not only fueling catastrophic wildfires in California's wildland-urban interface, they're also driving coyotes and other wildlife into the streets in search of food and water, according to scientists.

How do coyotes control their own population? ›

Unlike deer and most other wildlife, coyotes have an intrinsic ability to control their own numbers. Their reproductive rate is regulated by the amount of food available. If coyotes sense less food, they reduce their litter sizes and numbers of breeding females. The reverse is also true: more food, more puppies.

How can we reduce the population of coyotes? ›

Habitat Modification
  1. Reduce cover for prey species.
  2. Eliminate all intentional and unintentional feeding of coyotes.
  3. Remove carrion or bury carcasses of livestock.
  4. Change the season and use shed practices for lambing, kidding, and calving.
  5. Raise livestock in confinement or put them in pens at night.


1. What Are Wild Coyotes Doing in the Big City?
(PBS Terra)
2. Contributors To Conflict And Coexistence With Urban Coyotes
3. Coyote Troubles: Why Not Just Shoot Them?
4. Coyote Conflict Management Workshop -Southern Shores
(Southern Shores)
5. Ask The Expert: Coexisting with Coyotes
(Purdue Extension - Forestry and Natural Resources)
6. Urban Carnivores: Ecology, Conflict and Conservation- Meet the book!
(Teranga Ranch)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Pres. Carey Rath

Last Updated: 02/08/2023

Views: 5307

Rating: 4 / 5 (41 voted)

Reviews: 88% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Pres. Carey Rath

Birthday: 1997-03-06

Address: 14955 Ledner Trail, East Rodrickfort, NE 85127-8369

Phone: +18682428114917

Job: National Technology Representative

Hobby: Sand art, Drama, Web surfing, Cycling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Leather crafting, Creative writing

Introduction: My name is Pres. Carey Rath, I am a faithful, funny, vast, joyous, lively, brave, glamorous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.