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March 9, 2011

What to Do About Coyotes

Humane solutions are more effective than cruelty

Adapted from the book Wild Neighbors

  • The coyote's adaptability, intelligence, and hardiness earned the respect of Native Americans. William Weaver Photography

  • Coyote or German Shepherd? Look for the coyote's black-tipped tail and yellow eyes. John Harrison

  • Most adult coyotes weigh between 20-35 pounds, but their thick coat and long legs make them appear larger. Dawn Macheca

  • Unlike wolves, coyotes hunt alone or in pairs. They hunt rodents by quietly stalking and then pouncing on their prey. Robert Whitney

  • Coyote breeding season is January-March. Once coyotes mate, they often stay together for life. richardseeleyphotography.com

  • Coyote pups are born in April and May, in litters usually ranging from 4 to 7 pups. Penny Hall Photography

  • Male coyotes take an active role in raising their young. Other family members pitch in to feed and protect the pups. Robert Whitney

  • Mother coyotes often move their pups between several dens to protect them from predators. Robert Whitney

  • At six weeks, pups begin to explore outside their den. Come fall, they'll decide whether to stay with their family group. William Weaver Photography

Coyotes have been hunted, trapped, poisoned, and persecuted ever since the early days of western settlement.

Today, that old struggle has been transposed onto the suburban/urban stage, as coyote sightings raise alarm and unfounded fears—and lead to misguided programs to ‘control’ or kill these animals.

Trying to eliminate coyotes isn’t the answer. The answer lies in learning what attracts them to our homes in the first place, and then using strategies to solve that problem at its source.

People can live amidst coyotes yet never see them. Often it's only a night chorus or group howl that alerts them to the presence of this wild canid in their neighborhoods. We have a long way to go towards learning how to coexist with coyotes in this increasingly urban world.

The basics for living peacefully with coyotes

Techniques for Resolving Coyote Conflicts
Why Is There a Coyote in My Yard? Food Lures and Other Answers 
Coyotes, Pets, and Feral Cats
Coyotes and People: What to Know If You See or Encounter a Coyote
Why Killing Coyotes Doesn't Work
Coyote Hazing: Guidelines for Discouraging Neighborhood Coyotes

Resources

» Schedule a Coyote Hazing Training workshop in your community.
» Living with Wild Neighbors in Urban and Suburban Communities: A Guide for Local Leaders gives elected officials and other decision-makers the tools to implement long-lasting, nonlethal solutions to community wildlife conflicts.
» Purchase a copy of Wild Neighbors, the go-to guide for useful, humane solutions to conflicts with wildlife.
» If you are located within the D.C. Metro Area, take advantage of our wildlife conflict resolution service.
» Visit Project Coyote: promoting an educated coexistence between people and coyotes.

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