It’s Coyote Mating Season


It’s coyote mating season. Who knew? That means on warmer days in the cooler parts of the country, or any day in the Southwest coyotes are out and about keeping food more often.

Indeed, coyotes are wily survivors. While many species have paid a price for their intersection with humans, coyotes have found a way to co-exist, often under our noses without us being aware. Or they may be preying on small rodents in rural spaces as they always have. In places like New York and Chicago, they contribute to at least keeping some of the city rat population in check. Rats can spread disease to people and to pets, notably leptospirosis.

A few years ago, in downtown Chicago, a coyote walked into a convenience store – and that isn’t a set up for a joke, it really happened. Also, in the Windy City, on a summer Friday night, in the busy bar-area near Wrigley Field, a pair of coyotes nonchalantly walked along with the patrons before dashing off. No one paid any attention.

Keeping Pets Safe

Still, every year there are increasing reports of coyotes killing dogs and cats, and people become enraged. After all, dogs and cats are members of our families. There are even drives to kill coyotes, some people put out poison and others even shoot them.

I suggest such action is absolutely unnecessary.

Consider this: If villagers in Africa can live with elephants destroying a year of crops in one night or even trampling on a home, and in Asia a deadly snake might appear in the middle of the night; I think we can deal with coyotes – who aren’t a threat to adult humans.

Coyotes generally aren’t going to typically to take down a large dog, but mid-sized dogs and certainly small dogs and cats are at risk.

However, coyotes rarely have keys to homes. Indoors, pets are safe.

I understand cats who have been outdoors their entire lives may not be so eager about moving inside. But by creating a more stimulating environment indoors, many cats adjust. And sometimes older cats appear grateful for the opportunity to ‘cat-tire.’

Protecting Fido

The secret to protecting dogs is pretty simple, being on a leash with an adult human on the other end.

I understand, it’s easier to allow your pup to roam your yard. However, where there are coyotes this laziness comes with inherent risks. Simply don’t let the dog out without adult supervision.

Coyotes aren’t typically brazened enough to threaten human adults. If one doesn’t scamper off as you approach with a pup on-leash, holler “Go Away!”  If that fails, employ a technique called hazing, which means make a sudden noise, blow a loud whistle or bicycle horn.

Keep Out Wile E

It’s possible to protect yards against coyotes. Coyote-proof fences are either at least 8-feet tall and made of a material that coyotes cannot climb or at least 6-feet tall with a protective device on top, such as a coyote roller, which rolls off any coyotes that try to scramble over the fence. Do-it-yourself piping or chicken wire to the top of your fence also can prevent coyotes from getting the foothold they need to make it over. To prevent coyotes from digging under a fence, make sure the fence extends at least 12 inches underground.

Understand coyotes won’t be as motivated to enter our yards if people in the neighborhood (not only you) don’t feed them, and when a potential dinner from our trash cans becomes unavailable by using tight fitting coyote poof lids, Wolf urine may further deter coyotes. Just spray the wolf urine around the perimeter of the yard (though you will need to reapply after a rain).

Of course, the coyotes are only trying to survive. We can co-exist. Coyotes may be wily but they are also beneficial.