The coyote is a member of the Canidae family and is related to wolves, foxes and dogs. Coyotes are about the size of a medium dog, weighing 20- 35 pounds. They have a long narrow snout, upright ears, lean bodies, thick fur that is brown/tan in color, a long bushy tail with black or white coloring on the tip and they look similar to some dog breeds. Coyotes have a diverse diet; they can eat deer, rabbits, rodents, fruits, grass, reptiles, birds and insects depending on what is available due to habitat or season. They are not picky eaters and are opportunistic, scavenging on trash, dead animals and other available food items. Coyotes are an adaptable species that can be found living in most habitats throughout North America the mountains, foothills, deserts, prairies, wetlands and grassland habitats.
Coyotes are our neighbors and have adapted to living in human altered landscapes. They can be common in suburban neighborhoods and are even found living in densely populated cities such as Los Angeles and Chicago. Making an effort to coexist with coyotes by learning about coyote behavior and removing attractants in our yards and neighborhoods will help reduce coyote conflicts in your area. Please keep reading for specific information on urban coyotes and what you can do to coexist with your coyote neighbor.
What can you do to reduce coyote conflicts?
- Understand coyote behavior (what is normal vs. what is abnormal) and learn about coyote research.
- Take action: remove food resources in your yard, remove cover/shelter resources, and haze/scare coyotes out of your yard and neighborhood.
- Gehrt, S.D. Ecology of coyotes in urban landscapes. 2007. Proceedings of the 12th Wildlife Damage Management Conference. Paper 63.
- Gehrt, S.D., J.L. Brown and C. Anchor. 2011.”Is the urban coyote a misanthropic synanthrope? The case from Chicago”. Cities and the environment. Vol.4: Iss. 1, Article 3.
- Gehrt, S.D. and Riley, S.P.D. 2010. Coyotes (Canis latrans). In: Urban Carnivores (Gehrt, S.D., Riley, S.P.D., Cypher, B.L., eds.) pp. 78-95 (John Hopkins University Press).
- Kitchen, A.M., E. Gese and E.R. Schauster. 2000. Changes in coyotes activity patterns due to reduced exposure to human persecution. Canadian Journal of Zoology 78:853-857.
- Riley, S.P.D., Sauvajot, R.M., Fuller, T.K., York, E.C., Kamradt, D.A., Bromley, C., and Wayne, R.K. 2003. Effects of urbanization and habitat fragmentation on bobcats and coyotes in southern California. Conservation Biology, 17: 566-576.