When we moved in last May, our neighbors told us others had told them there were coyotes who lived in the neighborhood.  There are railroad tracks behind our fence, and on the other side, the back of another neighborhood with all wooden privacy fences (most of our neighbors have chain-link).  Our neighbor also said they used to have an indoor/outdoor cat which disappeared.

So we were always careful about having Pooka out at night.  A few months ago, at 2AM we heard a very loud howling which sounded like 20 coyotes (and of course was probably only 5) and it was very creepy.  Put a hatchet by the back door. 

Then a neighbor across the street told us she'd seen 2-3 coyotes running out of her yard and back across the street.  A few houses down there is a waterway/ditch that has no fence so I think they go through there and into the neighborhood to look for food.  This made me feel a little better that they don't seem to like to jump fences.  I have seen a skunk in that same area.  But it also made me worry about having Pooka in the front yard too.  We installed motion-activated floodlights in the backyard.

Our housemate was out in the backyard with his husky a few weeks ago and said he heard a few coyotes howling, and they must have been close because they stopped when he went outside.

AND THEN!  last week, in the afternoon, I was standing at the back door watching Pooka sniff around the back fence and she started barking (kids and people with their dogs sometimes go walking back there along the tracks) and then from behind the brush a rather large coyote starts trotting by.  He doesn't care that Pooka is barking at him and doesn't even really look at her, just trots along, going north.  For a split-second I thought "my that is a rough looking dog who actually looks a lot like a .... coyote!" and I opened the door and yelled at Pooka NO and COME and then remembered my recall "PizzlePizzlePizzle!" it took her two barks to finally hear me (it seems like so long) and she turned and ran to me like she's supposed to.  (a very very very good training tool).  By that time the coyote was pretty much gone and Pooka was whining and wanting to go back outside to defend our territory.

It was very scary and I was all panicky.  I calmed down because I was actually very very happy that the coyote was not interested in Pooka one bit.  If he had been, I probably would've been too late, or it could have caught up to her in the long run.  My husband told me coyotes aren't really inclined to jump fences.  They're not like deer.  Now I watch Pooka when she goes out pretty much all the time because this happened in the middle of the day.

I was wondering if anyone had any knowledge on urban coyote behavior.  If coyote's are less inclined to go after other canines? (I remember there was a sad story on here a while ago of someone's corgi getting dragged off and being put down) or if it was simply because this coyote was by itself, or if they tend to only hunt at night?  Can someone confirm they won't really jump fences, especially as a pack?

My husband said ranchers would buy human hair from barbers and spread it along fence lines to keep some animals away.  Any tips like that?  I don't know if that would work with urban coyotes.... any thoughts would be appreciated.

Views: 1085

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Ok, I checked your profile and you are in Texas, and that makes a big difference.

The Eastern Coyote has hybridized with wolves, can top out at 50 pounds, and seems slightly more inclined to pack up and actually hunt larger game. With an Eastern Coyote, all bets are off.

The Western Coyote is probably not much bigger than your Pooka, though they are taller and lankier and so they look a lot bigger than they are. They will typically run about 30 pounds. They primarily eat rabbits, mice, maybe insects, roadkill, some fruits and nuts and stuff like that. They are an omnivore, though they prefer meat. They will hunt or scavenge.

Pooka is most likely too big and too noisy for them to think of her as "food." HOWEVER, in a bad year and with a litter to raise, predators will sometimes get desperate and set their sights on animals they would normally avoid. Moreover, if Pooka challenges and they have a litter nearby, they could conceivably see her as a threat to THEIR territory and defend.

When you hear of coyotes predating pets, it is almost always cats and toy breed dogs. Do a google search for "coyote attacks dog" and you will see pugs, pekes, etc, but rarely a larger dog. There is a good chance they would never give your Pooka a second glance. Still, I would not take a chance and I would only take her out on a short leash any time between an hour before dusk and an hour after dawn, and I would only leave her loose in the yard if you are right there to watch.

Coyotes, even urban ones, are shy and you want to keep them that way. Do not feed any animals outside, don't give Pooka any bones or edible chews outside, and put your garbage out as late as possible (better yet, on the morning of pick-up) in a container with a locking lid.

A raccoon is actually about the same weight as a coyote and more aggressive, more likely to stand it's ground and fight, but I wouldn't take chances with a coyote. Our yard is not fenced but even if it were I would not leave my dogs out unattended, or off-leash at night.

Just use normal precautions and you should be fine.

Oh, and coyotes are very athletic and could most certainly jump and/or climb a fence (or dig under one) if so inclined, but they would need to have the proper motivation to expend so much energy.
Beth is absolutely right. The coyotes out here in Texas are small light kind of animals. Where my Aunt lives in rural west Texas she loses cats all the time to coyotes. Here in the suburbs I hear very little about people losing pets to coyotes, but see coyotes pretty frequently. It's kind of fun to watch them hopping about in the golf courses. I'd guess because we have more than enough garbage to keep them happy that there's not much point in them trying things that have teeth and claws.
That being said... they carry disease and are wild animals. Be careful.
Sorry I don't know anything about urban coyotes but I hear stories of them not being afraid of humans at least compared to the country ones. But here they usually don't come very close if there's a bunch of dogs but might if there was only 1 or 2. About 7 years ago we had the DNR out here as a neighbor had coyotes come into her yard and kill several cats(she had no dog) but they said it had to probably be a nursing mom that was very hungry to do this. We have coyotes less than a mile away but I don't let my dogs out except for in their fence after dark and a have motion light. I do leave my Aussie out the regular door though! I know they can sound like a pup to call dogs out into a field and then attack them and not too long ago we had that happen here(I think) but I was out and quickly gathered my dogs to come in! It's scary! Don't know about the hair...As for fences...They would probably rather not as their instinct would say that's not safe but if they really want something I would not trust this theory! Good Luck...I'm sure others have more info!
One last thing: coyotes are not really pack animals. They are usually loners or keep in pairs. If there is a "pack" it is almost definitely a litter of mostly-grown pups with its parents.
That's what all "packs" are. Wolves and coyotes form family-group packs that consist of the adult breeding pair and the growing offspring; at about 18-24 months the now-grown pups spin off and form their own packs. So yes, coyotes do form packs, exactly the way wolves do. And they do work together to bring down big prey and they ARE dangerous to dogs.

If they'll take down a 400-lb elk, which they can and do prey on, they would not hesitate to take a 30-lb corgi.
No, they do not form packs "exactly the way wolves do." They form loose groups the way feral dogs or dingos do. A wolf pack is much more stable. Coyotes will band together loosely or disperse depending on feeding conditions, or to defend territory. They mature at a younger age than wolves and form much looser groups, spinning off and regrouping based on conditions. They frequently hunt small animals alone or in pairs, however.


"Dispersal of juveniles - Juvenile coyotes usually disperse alone or
sometimes in groups at 6 to 9 months of age during October to February.
However, some juveniles do not disperse until their second year."

Moreover, they rarely hunt large prey:

"Group size and social behavior may also influence home range size.
Coyotes living in packs and defending ungulate carrion during winter may
have smaller home ranges than coyotes living in pairs or alone"

"An extensive study of coyote food habits conducted in 17 western states
showed that major diet items were lagomorphs (33%), carrion (25%),
rodents (18%), and domestic livestock (13.5%)" (Lagomorphs are rabbits and hares.}

northeastern California, meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) occurred
in about half of all coyote scats analyzed. Other important diet items
were mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) and cattle, probably eaten as

"On Arizona cattle ranges, where the habitat was
primarily open grasslands, oak (Quercus spp.), juniper, and ponderosa
pine (Pinus ponderosa), coyote diets contained high percentages of plant
material. Juniper berries were particularly important, followed by
prickly pear (Opuntia spp.) fruit [47]."

30-pound coyotes are just not going to successfully bring down elk on a regular basis. Here in PA, hunters have been forever complaining that coyotes are taking out deer, and yet those who study them extensively have found that the majority of deer in the diet comes from roadkill deer. They will predate a fawn if they find one.

I would use caution with dogs, yes, but the terror level people feel about wild predators is not matched by the reality of their behavior, and has led in the past to their near extinction. Coyotes primarily eat small game. In a city, their biggest prey would be mice, maybe an unlucky bird, rabbits, and yes cats and toy dogs. They ain't bringing down many 400-lb elk. I've seen on nature shows where in certain conditions lions will predate water buffalo or elephants, but that does not mean it's their preferred or common prey.

http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/urbcoyot.htm says there are probably between several hundred and several THOUSAND coyotes living in Chicago. Are they a threat? Of course, but again people should not be leaving their 15 pound dogs and cats out unattended anyway because there are lots of things that can get them; someone once had their dachshund carried off by an eagle, for example. The vast majority of us probably have coyotes in our backyards a few times throughout the year and never even know they are there.
I'm not exactly sure what you're arguing - coyotes do form packs, which are family groups (just the way wolves do); the young disperse and form their own; some solitary hunting occurs (in both species) but they hunt in groups to bring down large prey; and they can and do kill domestic animals far bigger than themselves and they will not hesitate to take a dog. That's what I said, and your data supports it.

I have a fox den three hundred feet from my house; we see them (and deer) all year long. We have a bear that wanders through on occasion as well. I've sat on my parents' front porch and listened to the coyotes start the nighttime hunt, which involves five or ten of them beginning the howl and singing for a good half an hour before they head out looking for supper. They were in the neighbor's field, maybe a couple hundred yards away. I'm not panicked or afraid of them, but I would not leave a puppy of any breed outside (and didn't; my Dane puppies were 20-30 lb by 8 weeks old, and they were never left unattended) and I would consider them a considerable threat to any unattended dog regardless of size.
It has always been my understanding that coyotes (at least around here) will also do their howling as a communication to other packs that they are "coming through" or politely notifying others of their presences in a way non aggressively to pass through another area. I hear this at night and can tell their moving! It does get scary when they sound very close!
This is kind of an interesting study about urban coyotes, which is sort of what they've been finding across the board all over in urban areas. They're just very amazing, adaptable predators, and yes, their social behavior changes to fit the type of environment and the game situation in the area.


Kind of neat, really.
Yes, I read a decade ago yet in National Wildlife that they are in most all eastern urban areas (Boston, NYC, etc) and the wildlife researches sorta keep it quiet because it causes panic.

Common sense is the best approach. Cats should not be outside, small dogs should be only outside when supervised, etc. I saw one once in the park across the street. We get bear on occasion too. I'm more worried about my dog getting loose and hit by a car than predated by a coyote.
They absolutely WILL jump fences and they WILL kill small dogs. I don't know where you are in the world, but out here in the Northeast the "coyotes" are about half wolf (the populations interbred centuries ago) and are 50-70 lb. They present significant risk to outside cats, small dogs, small animals like rabbits, etc. I used to take a handling class that met outside in a lit parking lot; as dusk fell the coyotes would come to the edge of the woods and we'd have to stop class because of the danger to the smaller dogs.

The only way I know to fence them out is to add hot wires at the top and bottom of the fence, on the outside, but that may impact your neighbors and may be against HOA rules.

Coyotes are not interested in challenging humans and would be unlikely to come over (or under) a fence if you're standing there. They WOULD come under a fence if you had a dog out for hours or a cat in the yard and they could tell that you were nowhere around. Coyotes are incredibly smart and underestimating them is a bad idea. I don't think human hair would work; they'd realize it was harmless in about five minutes.
If you checked her profile (or read my reply) you'd see she's in Texas, where coyotes are a risk but are much smaller than here in the East.


Rescue Store

Stay Connected


FDA Recall

Canadian Food Inspection Agency Recall

We support...



© 2020   Created by Sam Tsang.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report a boo boo  |  Terms of Service