Coyotes are intelligent members of the dog family that can be found throughout North America. Intelligence and adaptability inspire the coyote's role as a trickster in Native American folktales and legends. Many modern Americans consider coyotes to be little more than nuisance pests responsible for killing livestock. With populations at an all-time high, conflicts between humans and coyotes have become more prevalent.
In western states, coyotes that live in the desert have light brown or tan fur, while coyotes residing in mountains or forested areas of eastern states are often darker brown or gray in color. Their coarse fur and bushy tails grow thicker during cold months. The canines have large, triangular ears and long, narrow muzzles that give them excellent senses of hearing and smell. They also possess keen eyesight. Coyotes are highly social creatures that often hunt in packs and communicate with one another through yelps, howls, and barks.
Populations of wild coyotes can be found almost everywhere throughout North America, including the continental United States, Mexico, and western Canada. The animals have adapted to arctic conditions, open grasslands, forests, suburban areas, deserts, and jungles. Coyotes commonly make burrows in caves and abandoned dens of other animals. Open grasslands are their favored terrain, as these environments are lousy with coyote prey, like rabbits, squirrels, small rodents, and reptiles as well as larger game like deer, sheep, or even cattle.
Are coyotes known to enter homes or yards?
Historic hunting and persecution of coyotes has bred them to be wary and naturally shy of humans. As such, they will not enter dwellings and are only active at night or in the early morning where humans are present. Coyotes will venture onto properties like pastures, fields, backyards, or even garbage dumps in search of food.
Do coyotes harm people or property?
In rural areas, coyotes' destruction of livestock is a major concern. Their killing of sheep, cattle, goats, chickens, and turkeys results in significant losses for the agricultural industry each year. Human attacks are very rare and result in little to no serious damage when they do occur. However, coyotes are known carriers of dangerous diseases and parasites that afflict humans and animals, including rabies, distemper, parvo virus, mange mites, and fleas.
Control and Safety
Several effective measures may be employed to keep coyotes away from livestock. Erecting fences can be useful so long as they have overhangs at the top and barbed wire along the bottom because coyotes are capable of jumping eight feet high and digging under unsecured fencing. Using guard dogs, donkeys, or llamas as protectors of livestock can be effective. Whenever possible, herd animals into enclosed spaces at night.
Trapping and Removal
Wild coyotes should never be approached. Although physically similar to dogs, coyotes are not domesticated animals and will bite if cornered or threatened. Individuals should always allow trained wildlife professionals to handle any infestations. Critter Control coyote experts are available to help manage and eliminate unwanted coyote problems.
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