LIVING WITH PREDATORS
COEXISTENCE IS AN ACTIVE NEIGHBORHOOD EFFORT
There are many ways to help the wild animals who share our communities and enhance our lives. You can write letters to the editors of your local newspapers, respond to wildlife-related topics in community forums, post on social media, and educate your friends and neighbors about coexistence whenever the opportunity arises. You can also help your neighborhood by sharing this information and by downloading and distributing our free resources.
Here are some quick tips:
- Post a letter to the editor in your local newspaper. Find more information here, and examples of text you can use here.
- Post (or respond to a coyote-related post) on your local Nextdoor or other neighborhood forum. Examples of text you can use are here.
- Print our signs/flyers (Dogs and Coyotes, Be Coyote Aware, Feeding Wildlife), and post them at trailheads or other areas where coyotes have been sighted. We recommend laminating and affixing with small nails or cable ties. (If you don’t have a printer at home, FedEx and Vistaprint offer inexpensive, quick-service printing; laminating services vary by location.) You can also print and share these signs/flyers in your community.
- Download a free copy of Camilla Fox’s co-authored book, Coyotes In Our Midst, here, and post the link to Nextdoor or share it wherever you can to help educate your community about coyote ecology and behavior, and how we can live safely and peacefully with this adaptable and intelligent predator.
See below to find out more about how you can help.
Hazing simply means scaring a coyote away from you, your yard, or your neighborhood. Coyotes are members of the dog family, and just as we train our dogs to adopt good behavior, we can reinforce a coyote’s natural instinct to avoid people without harming them. Learn how to haze a coyote in this video.
Coyotes are usually wary of people and will avoid us whenever possible. Bold behavior is unusual and is most often a result of habituation due to intentional or unintentional feeding, the presence of a dog, or the coyote defending a den and young. If you encounter a coyote, remember the following:
- Never feed or try to “tame” a coyote; appreciate coyotes from a distance.
- Walk dogs on leashes; pick up small dogs if a coyote is near.
- If approached, be BIG and LOUD. You can also scare the animal by blowing a whistle, shaking a can with coins inside, popping open an umbrella, or throwing objects (toward but not at the coyote). Do not run from a coyote; calmly leave the area.
The very traits that have allowed coyotes to thrive, adapt, and coexist with people even in the most populated regions of North America have also led to conflicts with us and our domestic animals. Most coyotes fear people. However, those who associate people with food may become habituated to our presence. The abundance of food, water, and shelter offered by urban landscapes—coupled with unsecured garbage, unfenced gardens, and unattended domestic animals—can lead to conflicts. Documented cases of coyotes injuring people are very rare and most often related to people intentionally or unintentionally feeding them and/or the presence of a dog. Coyotes become more active, vocal, and territorial during mating and pupping seasons (see below). Pay particular attention to your companion animals’ safety during these times and do not let them roam.
COYOTE LIFE CYCLE
|Feb—Apr||Den Site Selection|
|July—Oct||Expanding home range|
|Oct—Dec||Dispersal of pups|
Urban landscapes offer an abundance of food, water, and shelter for coyotes. If you frequently see a coyote near your home, one or more neighbors may be unknowingly providing food or shelter. Take the following steps to prevent coyotes from being attracted to your home.
- Wildlife-proof garbage in sturdy containers with tight fitting lids.
- Don’t leave pet food outside.
- Take out trash the morning pick up is scheduled.
- Keep compost in secure containers.
- Keep fallen fruit off the ground. Coyotes eat fruit.
- Keep birdseed off the ground; seeds attract rodents which then attract coyotes. Remove feeders if coyotes are seen in your yard.
- Keep barbecue grills clean.
- Eliminate accessible water sources.
- Clear away brush and dense weeds near buildings.
- Close off crawl spaces under decks and around buildings where coyotes may den.
- If you frequently see a coyote in your yard, make loud noises with pots, pans, or air horns, and haze the coyote with a water hose.
- Share this list with your neighbors; coexistence is a neighborhood effort.
KEEPING DOMESTIC ANIMALS SAFE
Although free roaming pets are more likely to be killed by automobiles than by wild animals, coyotes may view cats and small dogs as potential prey and larger dogs as competition. Other domestic animals including sheep, chickens and rabbits may also be seen as food and must be protected. Consider the following:
- Don’t let domestic animals roam; keep them securely enclosed and protected at night.
- Fence your property. The fence must be at least 6 feet tall with the bottom extending at least 6 inches below the ground. Fences are more effective by using wire mesh, outwardly inverting the top of the fence, by using electric fencing along the top and bottom (more strands for protecting livestock), or by installing the CoyoteRoller™ which makes it difficult for predators to gain the “foothold” they need to pull up and over the top of an enclosure.
- Llamas, donkeys, and livestock guard dogs are effective in reducing coyote-livestock conflicts.
- Don’t leave animal foods outside; keep all food well secured.
- Install motion-sensor lights near buildings.
- Walk dogs on leashes, particularly during coyote mating season (December—February) and pupping seasons (April—July).
- Spay or neuter your dogs. Though uncommon, coyotes are attracted to, and can mate with, dogs.
COYOTE AWARE COMMUNITIES
Whether you live in a rural or urban area, you can help to educate your community about coyotes and coyote coexistence strategies. Many state wildlife agencies are underfunded and understaffed and simply don’t have the resources to address increasing human-wildlife conflicts resulting from urban sprawl, habitat fragmentation, and growing human populations. Here are just a few ways that you can help make your community Coyote Aware:
- Organize a Coexisting with Coyotes event in your community; contact Project Coyote to see if one of our staff or Advisory Board members can speak in your community or suggest someone locally.
- Organize a screening of American Coyote—Still Wild at Heart in your community; this may be combined with a guest speaker presentation.
- Ask your local cable station to air American Coyote—Still Wild at Heart
- Write letters to the editor to help educate your community about coyotes and the important ecological role they play in maintaining species diversity and ecosystem health. Click here for our tips for writing letters to the editor, and find examples of text here.
- Organize a tabling event at local venues or events and help distribute Project Coyote educational materials.
- Help spread our message and support our work by purchasing and wearing Project Coyote merchandise. Visit our CafePress shop to see our latest hip t-shirt designs and other products.