How to Protect Yourself From Coyotes
Confirmed attacks on adult humans are extremely rare, as these animals are generally somewhat fearful of humans, and are relatively small in size. However there are still many things people can do to protect themselves, and their pets, from coyote attack.
Recently a governor in Texas made the news when he shot a coyote for threatening the puppy he was jogging with. The Internet community, and animal lovers, were mostly outraged by this cowardly act, but possibly the man was ignorant, and didn’t know what else to do.
Coyotes are small canines native to Central and North America. In color they are often a grayish brown, with tints of orange, and have a whiter throat and belly. Often those in the desert are more yellow, while those in forested areas are darker.
In size they are smaller than wolves, being about two feet tall at the shoulders (58 – 66 cm), with northern ones being larger. Their paws tend to be proportionately small, and their bodies rather lean.
Typically coyotes hunt alone or in pairs, often nocturnally due to their dislike of being around human activity.
Coyotes have been observed to maintain fairly stable reproductive patterns according to the food supply and their numbers. Meaning that if there are many coyotes in an area, they reduce their reproductive rate, if there are few, they have a birthing boom, and more females are allowed to mate and reproduce.
Confirmed attacks on adult humans are extremely rare, as these animals are generally somewhat fearful of humans, and are relatively small in size. There have only been two human fatalities linked to coyotes, one a toddler the other a 19 girl, both have been suspected of being coyote – wolf hybrids rather than coyotes. However there are still many things people can do to protect themselves, and their pets, from coyote attack.
Coyotes don’t like tall things. If you are threatened make yourself taller by raising your arms or putting something over your head. This is one of the reasons people keep llamas in with their sheep.
Coyotes don’t like the smell of coyote urine. It is sold in some hunting or outdoor supply stores and can be put around your property (on trees and fences) to deter coyotes.
Coyotes don’t like being surprised. That is to say, if you make a sudden movement they may be alarmed. Clapping your hands, or banging pots together may alarm them, even yelling will usually work.
Coyotes are fearful. Generally a person can threaten a coyote to back away by walking towards it in a threatening manner. If you run towards a coyote, they will generally run away.
Spay and neuter all pet dogs. The smell of a female in heat will attract coyotes. Don’t think they always want to breed our dog, some may see it as an invader, and kill it. An unfixed male dog is seen as competition.
Keep all pets safe. Indeed coyotes may see your pets as a meal source. Cats are particularly easy prey and dogs will be killed too.
Don’t encourage them. If you leave food out for your pet it will encourage coyotes to come near and lose their fear of humans. Feeding coyotes is even more stupid.
In the case of the Texan governor, he probably would have been better off to make a threatening gesture towards the coyote rather than shooting it. Coyotes are very smart and learn fast, when threatened they remember and seldom make a similar attempt again.
For the record, I live in a rural area in Alberta Canada, it is not unusual for me to see coyotes, and yes in the past I have had to chase them away.
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