How dangerous are coyotes? Attacks against adults are rare, but kids and pets face risks. (2023)

  • Coyotes are wild animals that are potentially dangerous, but coyote attacks are rare.
  • Wolves are generally larger than coyotes, along with a less pointed snout and less pointed ears.
  • Respond to coyote sightings by keeping eyes on it and retreating to a populated and lit area.

Coyotes can be found across North America in Canada, the U.S., Mexico and even Central America. Live Science says there are 19 subspecies of coyote, including the Mexican coyote and the California valley coyote, found in a variety ofhabitats and with different coats.Coyotes can even produce offspring with dogs and wolves to create a “coywolf or coydog.”

Coyotes have a very recognizable canine appearance that they share with wolves, foxes and other four-legged animals. They are, however, different from wolves, despite the seemingly plentiful similarities.

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Are coyotes dangerous?

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 tipscan keep you, your family and your pets safe.

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The Urban Coyote Research Project has a guide for avoiding coyote conflict. Do not feed coyotes, as this can lower their fear of humans, making them braver in neighborhoods. With this, avoid leaving food unsecured.

Avoid letting your pets loose as this can attract dangerous coyotes that your pet may fall prey to. Be especially cautious with yourself, your children and your pets at night. Coyotes are generally nocturnal animals that are “seldom seen” during the day, according to the Humane Society.

AZ Animals recommends utilizing “fences and repellents” to deter coyotes from entering your yard, should they become great enough of a threat or nuisance.

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How dangerous are coyotes? Attacks against adults are rare, but kids and pets face risks. (1)

What to do if you see a coyote

You should respond to a coyote sighting by keeping your eyes on the coyote and retreating back to a “populated and lit area,” says AZ Animals. Do not panic in this situation. Coyote attacks are rare and can be avoided with proper prevention and response. The Urban Coyote Research Project recommends contacting local authorities, animal control or your local Department of Natural Resources office if the coyote poses a threat to human safety.

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What to do if you're attacked by a coyote

There have been only two recorded situations where a human has been killed by coyotes in the U.S. or Canada, according to the Humane Society. Coyotes are, however, very dangerous to pets. Should a coyote become hostile, maintain eye contact and attempt to scare it off. AZ Animals recommends people “shout, wave your hands, and throw objects at the coyote.” It is vital to make the coyote aware neither you nor your pet is going to be easy prey for it.

How to identify a coyote versus a wolf

Coyotes can be mistaken for wolves due to their similar builds, but the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) gives a guide marking noticeable differences.

Wolves are generally larger, with a length of five to six feet, while coyotes range between 3.5 to 4.5 feet. Wolves are also larger with a max height of 33 inches and a max weight of 100 pounds. Coyotes, on the other hand, can reach 22 inches in height and 45 pounds in weight.

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Coyotes have a more pointed snout than wolves, along with larger, relative to size, pointier ears.

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