What To Do If You See A Coyote – CoyoteSmart (2023)

…crossing a yard or street

Coyotes are most frequently seen and heard during mating season (January-March) and when juveniles start leaving the family pack (September-November). While normally fearful of people, they can sometimes be spotted crossing yards or streets. This behavior is not unusual, especially in residential areas bordering on open space wherecoyotes find their natural prey. They may simply be taking a shortcut to their favorite hunting ground.This type of sighting generally requires no response—other than making sure that pets and children are secure and that there are no likely food attractants (see Easy Pickin’s) present in the area.

(Video) What to do if you see a coyote

…lounging in a yard or approaching/following people

Coyotes are naturally timid animals and will usually flee at the sight of a human. If they linger or approach, it’s time to begin “hazing.” This is a term applied to the following actions that can be taken to scare coyotes and chase them away:

  • Be as big and loud as possible. Do not run or turn your back.
  • Wave your arms, clap your hands, and shout in an authoritative voice.
  • Make noise by banging pots and pans or using an air horn or whistle. These sounds can also alert the neighbors.
  • Throw small stones, sticks, tennis balls or anything else you can lay your hands on. Remember the intent is to scare and not to injure.
  • Spray with a hose, if available, or a squirt gun filled with water and vinegar.
  • Shake or throw a “coyote shaker”—a soda can filled with pennies or pebbles and sealed with duct tape.
(Video) All the Genius of a COYOTE in 10 Minutes

The effects of hazing may not last unless all food attractants are permanently removed. This information should be shared with neighbors, friends and homeowner’s associations since hazing is most effective when the entire neighborhood is working together.

Hazing should never be attempted if the coyote is accompanied by pups or appears to be sick or injured. If it’s the latter, make a report to the local police or the RI Division of Fish and Wildlife at 401-789-0281.

(Video) Coyote Smart

…failing to respond to hazing

Some coyotes may freeze and stare, or run a short distance and stop. Hazing should be continued until the coyote gets the message and finally leaves the scene. Hazing can work whether the encounter is with a lone coyote or a small pack. If the leader retreats, the rest of the pack will follow. If the coyote refuses to retreat or returns to the area despite persistent hazing, it may be due to the fact that someone is feeding coyotes nearby. This is a cause for concern and should be reported to the local police or animal control officer.

…approaching a pet or a child

Small pets and children should never be left unattended, and dogs should always be walked on a leash. Problems are more likely to occur when the animal is out of the owner’s control. It can also behelpful to carry a noisemaker, squirt gun or pepper spray. If a coyote approaches, pick up the pet or child, then start hazing. If the coyote does not leave, back away slowly while continuing to haze and go indoors if possible. Any aggressive behavior should be reported to the local police or animal control officer. If bites or other injuries are sustained, medical attention should be sought and a report made to the RI Division of Fish and Wildlife at401-789-0281.

(Video) Broomfield kids learn how to be coyote S.M.A.R.T.

To view our VIDEO on What to do if you see a coyote, click here.

Photo credit: ©Ken Yellis, Newport, RI. Coyote spotted in a Newport yard; mate partially visible in shrubs.

(Video) This Is What You Should Do If You Encounter A Coyote
(Video) What to do if you see a coyote | KVUE


What is the best thing to do if you see a coyote? ›

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).

Should I be concerned if I see a coyote during the day? ›

Seeing one in someone's backyard can bring about surprise and could lead to panic. This is normal behavior especially during the spring and summer months because they are busy hunting rodents for their youngsters. Because they are seen during the day does not mean that the coyote is rabid, aggressive, or dangerous.

Will a coyote chase you if you run? ›

Coyotes are wary of humans and your presence is usually enough to drive off a coyote. Maintain eye contact. Do not turn your back on the coyote and do not run. Running away can trigger a coyote's prey drive and may cause him or her to chase you.

What do you do if you see a coyote walking dog? ›

If you're confronted by one of these large wild animals, flail your arms, stomp your feet, shout loudly, and become as intimidating as you can be. As you do this, continue to face the animal and slowly back away. And this might surprise you, but don't run. If possible, pick up your dog so they don't run either.

How can you tell if a coyote is near? ›

Signs of Coyote Presence
  • Coyotes may howl for a variety of reasons. Howling. Coyotes may advertise the occupancy of a territory to other coyotes by group howling. ...
  • Feces of a coyote often contain hair and bones. Scat. ...
  • Tracks: comparing coyotes to domestic dogs. Tracks.

Are coyotes aggressive? ›

Coyotes rarely attack people. However, they may see your pet as a threat or even prey, so it's always good to keep an eye on these canines if they're near your property. If coyotes find food in neighborhoods consistently, they may slowly start losing their fear of people.

What time of year are coyotes most aggressive? ›

Coyote breeding typically peaks in late February and early March, the gestation period averages 58 to 63 days. Male coyotes can become more aggressive during this time of year, the long and short of it all is that coyotes always pose a risk to your dog (and other small pets). That risk increases during mating season.

Has a coyote ever attacked a human? ›

There have only been two recorded incidences in the United States and Canada of humans being killed by coyotes. One involved a child in Southern California in the 1980s and the other a 19-year old woman in Nova Scotia in 2009. These events, rare as they are, are serious and warrant serious response.

What to do if a coyote approaches you at night? ›

Throw small stones, sticks, tennis balls or anything else you can lay your hands on. Remember the intent is to scare and not to injure. Spray with a hose, if available, or a squirt gun filled with water and vinegar. Shake or throw a “coyote shaker”—a soda can filled with pennies or pebbles and sealed with duct tape.

Do barking dogs scare 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.

What is the best defense against coyotes? ›

  • Yelling and waving your arms while approaching the coyote.
  • Noisemakers: Voice, whistles, air horns, bells, “shaker” cans full of marbles or pennies, pots, lid or pie pans banged together.
  • Projectiles: sticks, small rocks, cans, tennis balls or rubber balls.

What are coyotes afraid of? ›

In truth, coyotes are afraid of people, objects thrown in their direction, loud noisemakers and sounds, bright lights, and predator urine. All of these can help to repel and deter coyotes from your property.

Will a coyote take my dog? ›

It's exceedingly rare for coyotes to attack humans but they will take mid-size or small dogs or cats or attack geriatric large dogs. These attacks can nearly always be prevented. Coyotes do not have keys to homes. Indoors, pets are safe.

Would a coyote hurt a dog? ›

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.

Will coyotes enter dog door? ›

Can Coyotes Enter Your Home Through a Dog Door? Unfortunately, a coyote can use your dog's pet door to get into your house. There have even been a few reported incidences of this happening, especially during the summertime in California.

What attracts coyotes to your yard? ›

What Attracts Coyotes To My Yard Or Neighborhood? Coyotes are attracted to neighborhoods due to the availability of their natural food sources and due to ample garbage, pet food, and birdfeeders. In addition, some residents illegally place food out for coyotes, which compounds the problem.

How far away are coyotes when you hear them? ›

Howling sounds can travel around 1,000 yards and can be used by coyotes to identify who's calling, their gender and perhaps their mood.

What time of day do coyotes hunt? ›

Hunting Behavior

When living in close proximity to humans, coyotes tend to be nocturnal but may also be active in the early morning and at sunset. In areas with little or no human activity, coyotes will hunt during the day, and when a litter of pups needs to be fed, they may have to hunt around the clock.

What time of night are coyotes most active? ›

Time of Day: Coyotes are nocturnal hunters by nature, making dawn and dusk the optimal hunting times as they head out in search of food.

How do you scare off a coyote? ›

Wave arms and yell in an authoritative voice. ➢ Turn on sprinklers or spray coyotes with a garden hose. ➢ Spray coyotes with a water gun filled with water or vinegar. ➢ Throw rocks, sticks, tennis balls or anything else you can find.

What smells keep coyotes away? ›

Bird feeders can also attract a hungry coyote, so store your bird feeder to keep both the food and the birds protected. Besides hiding good-smell-producers, you can also strategically place stinky scents like wolf urine, ammonia-soaked rags, and moth balls around your yard and garbage cans.

Where do coyotes go during the day? ›

Coyotes hide in covered open areas, raised grounds, or in dens during the day. Dens are most commonly seen in parks and forest areas, shrubbery, preserves, golf courses, and other such regions. These are difficult to come by in urban areas.

Why do coyotes scream? ›

"It has several functions. One is to call the pack—really a family group—back together again after a period of individual hunting. A second reason that coyotes howl is to advertise their presence to other packs, essentially warning those other family groups against trespassing across territorial boundaries."

How high can coyotes jump? ›

Coyotes have been seen leaping over fences up to 8 feet high, and can scale barriers even taller using their back legs, outlets report.

Can I shoot a coyote in my yard? ›

Per California Code of Regulations, Title 14, section 472(a), a coyote is categorized as a nongame mammal. This means you can hunt them if you have a hunting license and a legal place to hunt. Coyotes may be taken at any time of the year and in any number, and archery equipment is a legal method of take.

How fast can a coyote run? ›

During pursuit, a coyote may reach speeds up to 43 mph (69 km/h), and can jump a distance of over 4 meters (13⅛ feet).

What happens if you hit a coyote? ›

The best thing to do when you hit an animal is to call the police. Getting a hold of the authorities will allow them to use their expertise to assist you and the animal. They will also help move the animal if it's obstructing the roads. When in doubt, call the police out.

What does it mean when a coyote approaches you? ›

If you see a coyote, it means you need to be more honest with yourself. The coyote is often seen as a trickster, so this message may be trying to tell you something important that you do not see clearly. The coyote is also a symbol of death and rebirth.

Who would win in a fight a coyote or a dog? ›

In a pit bull versus coyote fight, a coyote would almost certainly win simply because it is a wild animal, whereas a pit bull is a domestic pet.

Do dogs hang out with coyotes? ›

A predator with panache, the coyote may not invite in close friends, but it is known that they can get along with wolves, dogs and sometimes people.

What is the enemy of the coyotes? ›

Wolves, black bears, mountain lions, and eagles all prey on the coyote.

What is the coyotes natural enemy? ›

Predators and Threats

Because of its size, speed, and ferociousness, the coyote only has a few natural predators in the wild. Wolves, bears, cougars, alligators, and other large predators have been known to prey on them, but the coyote is rarely their first choice of prey.

Will air horns scare coyotes? ›

Air Horn

Here's an easy one if you want to scare coyotes -- They do not like loud noises. Blast an air horn if you've seen coyote tracks or have a reason to believe a coyote might be nearby.

Are coyotes scared of flashlights? ›

Coyotes are deterred by bright light, so anyplace where coyotes are seen, flood lights should be turned on. Anyone who goes walking where coyotes have been seen should carry a flashlight. A 180-degree TripleLite flashlight lights up a whole walkway and will fit into a purse or pocket.

What color are coyotes scared of? ›

The red light imitates the eyes of a predator animal, causing coyotes and other predators to keep away by tricking them into thinking they're being watched.

What are coyotes most attracted to? ›

Coyotes are attracted by bread, table scraps, seed, or even birds that come to the feeder. Secure garbage containers and eliminate garbage odors. Don't leave small children unattended outside if coyotes have been seen frequently in the area. Don't allow pets to run free.

Why do coyotes yip at night? ›

Coyotes are also territorial. The pair howls and yips to let other coyotes know that they have an established territory and not to intrude.

How do I know if a coyote took my dog? ›

To determine if coyotes are responsible for the kill, look for signs of struggle, such as scrapes or drag-marks on the ground, broken vegetation, or blood around the site of the kill. Look for the presence of subcutaneous (just under the skin) bleeding at the point of attack.

Should I be worried about a coyote in my yard? ›

If you spot a coyote in your neighborhood, relax: Most coyotes avoid people. “Seeing a coyote out during the day is not a cause for alarm, especially in the spring and summer when they're looking for food for their pups,” says Lynsey White, HSUS director of humane wildlife conflict resolution.

What smell do coyotes hate? ›

Leave open jars of vinegar on the perimeter of where the animal is frequenting. Most wildlife do not like the smell and will try to avoid it. Leave the jars out for a few weeks, refilling them as necessary.

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. Coyotes are, on the whole, monogamous, and couples remain together for many years.

What should you do if you encounter a coyote at night? ›

Be as big and loud as possible. Do not run or turn your back. Wave your arms, clap your hands, and shout in an authoritative voice. Make noise by banging pots and pans or using an air horn or whistle.

What will drive coyotes away? ›

Ammonia-soaked rags or apply to an area with a squirt bottle. Must be re-applied over time/after rain. ➢ Motion lighting, strobe lighting, and blinking holiday lights. ➢ Other odor deterrents (such as cayenne pepper or vinegar in water guns or balloons, etc).

Can a coyote jump a 6 foot fence? ›

Well, if you want a fence to be an effective coyote deterrent, taller is definitely better. Coyotes have been known to clear six-foot fences. And even if it's too tall to easily jump, coyotes have been known to climb fences seven feet tall (their back legs are quite strong).

Will a coyote grab a dog on a leash? ›

Experts say coyotes attacking a leashed dog is a sign they're getting more aggressive in an area and getting less afraid of humans, whether it's food scarcity or the unintentional feeding of coyotes. "Please be cautious.

How fast can coyotes run? ›

Can dogs sense coyotes? ›

It's true, many dogs can smell coyotes and react accordingly. From howling to whimpering and sniffing around like crazy, there are numerous tell-tale signs that your dog is aware of the presence of a coyote in the area.

What attracts coyotes to your house? ›

Coyotes are attracted by bread, table scraps, seed, or even birds that come to the feeder. Secure garbage containers and eliminate garbage odors. Don't leave small children unattended outside if coyotes have been seen frequently in the area. Don't allow pets to run free.

Should you call the police if you see a coyote? ›


If you see a coyote behaving aggressively or attacking a person immediately call 911.


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