How to Protect Yourself From Coyotes

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.

File:Coyote Yellowstone.jpg

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.

File:No Feeding.jpg


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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ken bultman, posted this comment on Apr 29th, 2010

I see coyotes often…they’ve yet to be a threat to my goats but my place is not isolated. My dogs alert when they see one but are frightened when they hear one in the distance. I have known men, perhaps like the Texas governor, who would shoot a coyote for any reason…or none at all. Beautiful animals. Those here in Florida are probably smaller than any others…most mammals are, except for their tails.

Matthew Bonadio, posted this comment on Apr 29th, 2010

Your articles are so good. I have no interest in coyotes generally, but enjoyed reading this.

martie, posted this comment on Apr 29th, 2010

A lot of people around here have had real problems with cyotes. In fact, I don’t know if there is still one but a couple of years ago there was a bounty on them .

Emmie, posted this comment on Apr 30th, 2010

Informative read

Emmie x

PR Mace, posted this comment on May 1st, 2010

I have never seen one but we have lots of black bears where I live. I found this a very interesting and informative article.

Daisy Peasblossom, posted this comment on May 18th, 2010

In my area, developers frequently bulldoze trees up into a heap. These heaps become home for coyotes, raccoons, opossums and other creatures. I live for 5 years near such a heap, and grew to love listening to the coyotes singing at night. They were, however, one reason my kitties were indoor kitties; and also one reason my aunt put a six foot fence around her yard.

Concerned Mom, posted this comment on Nov 9th, 2010

There was a recent article about coyotes in our area and I walk my baby around the neighborhood often. I know you say they rarely attack humans, but I also read that they prey on small animals and don’t want to put my 18-month-old boy at risk. Is there any anything (like pepper spray) that would scare them off if they are not afraid of humans due to being around them too much? I would like to feel more prepared in the event we run into one.

Brenda Nelson, posted this comment on Nov 9th, 2010

to Concerned mom

Your son should not be out by himself at that age – as such the coyote will not attack a child when you are there, of course your son would be in danger if you left him out by himself, but that would be bad parenting!

Have an old pot and stick, if you see a coyote bang the stick on the pot loudly and walk towards the coyote – be threatening

they will learn not to come back – basically you are TRAINING the coyote to stay away..

you will not get close enough to pepper spray them.

Debbie, posted this comment on Jan 16th, 2011

I have two small dachsunds and only let them out to go to the bathroom. I live in a rural area and always hear the coyotes in the back woods, but never saw them. A few days ago I saw one in my backyard. I love all animals, but I was wondering if a BB gun would scare them off but not hurt them?

Mike, posted this comment on Feb 11th, 2011

I was running with my dog and a coyote came up on us. I pulled out my Glock and put one through his head. (he died very quickly)

No need to look like a fool running with a pot and stick at my side.

Treadmill Traci, posted this comment on Feb 24th, 2011

I’m always seeing coyotes in my backyard, I hope they leave my cats alone!! >:(

bremerton carpet cleaners, posted this comment on Jul 15th, 2011

Really helpful article. My son is moving to a rural part of Texas and is concerned about coyotes. I sent him your link and just wanted to thank you for the input. Little worried about his small dog too. He plans on using a paintball gun worst case!

custom dog collars, posted this comment on Jul 15th, 2011

Does anyone know if bb guns work with out hurting the animal. I live in a rural area and have 4 cats. Somewhat worried about them but do not want to hurt the coyote either. Helpful article

Brenda Nelson, posted this comment on Jul 22nd, 2011

I have had a pellet gun but never used it to actually shoot at the coyotes, I thought the sound would scare them.. but it doesnt, chasing them, yelling at them, and hitting a sauce pan with a stick works well. I also have a milk jug filled with rocks that I use to shake, but havent seen them around for a long time – once you scare them away, they tend to learn not to come back to a certain area.

Gwen, posted this comment on Aug 26th, 2011

I’ve actually been afraid of walking too much at night because of coyotes. Its good to know they’re more docile/fearful than I’d thought. And considering my love (whom I walk with) is a virtual giant, I suppose we’re decently safe.

Ack, sad that the governer shot a coyote though. Its rough enough for the little buggers, without us shooting at them.

Rob, posted this comment on Sep 6th, 2011

It is very interesting. My friend’s dog have been attacked by one, but his dog has not been killed, hopefully. I would like to bring my dog to Canada, but I have heard that it is dangerous, is it true ? Coyottes, wolf and bear, I am afraid for my dog and myself and family.

Brenda Nelson, posted this comment on Sep 7th, 2011

I am on a hobby farm in Central Alberta Canada, when I moved here we saw coyotes every week, but I started chasing them away after they did bother the sheep one winter. Never had problems since.
I have seen bear too but they are pretty scared of people. Over all Canada is very safe, its not wild life you have to fear, its other people, and cars.
Depending on where you live it is very safe, if you are worried you just build a fence!

Thrifty Camper, posted this comment on Dec 28th, 2011

I guess that makes sense that coyote’s don’t like the smell of coyote urine. I know people don’t like the smell of people urine.

It’s funny. When my son was very young, he was scared of coyotes even though he had never seen one. He would always come inside in the evening when he heard coyotes howling. Finally, he saw a live coyote one day and was no longer scared of them. I wonder what he had imagined coyotes were like.

timo, posted this comment on Dec 29th, 2011

Good information thanks. I live in a rural area and hear them at night all the time and keep my pets in at night.
Thanks Timo
emergency preparedness

Karl Kelman, posted this comment on Jan 10th, 2012

I see coyotes in the Highlands Ranch Backcounty or Open Space. Being given to sarcasm, I usually howl at them, which leads to their looking disgusted and running away. IMHO, dealing with problem animals is mostly about convincing them that you are the one looking for dinner.

Dogs do seem to attract Coyote problems – they’ve been a factor in almost every Coyote/Human incident in or near Highlands Ranch.

If you live in an area with Coyotes, keep your cats (or small dogs) inside! I once saw a coyote running out of a neighborhood into the Open Space with a full-grown cat in it’s mouth. I tried to chase the Coyote, but in about three steps I realized they are much faster than people even carrying a cat.

Jianna Gonzalez, posted this comment on Jan 14th, 2012

Thanks for the information on wolves

Scott Hebert, posted this comment on Jan 20th, 2012

I have hunted coyotes and seen them in the wild but I have never thought of protecting myself from a them. Great post!

drvaughandabbs, posted this comment on Mar 20th, 2012

Excellent information. This site definitely explains essential concepts to its readers. Thanks for continuing to write such wonderful articles.

Ars, posted this comment on Apr 25th, 2012

I lost 10 chickens yesterday to a coyote.

Luxury Independent Floors, posted this comment on Jun 12th, 2012

Very nice and useful information on wolves…thanks for sharing.

James, posted this comment on Jul 31st, 2012

Our government are considering the possibility of re introducing the coyotes larger cousin, the wolf back into Scotland.

I have read a few artciles about the re introduction prograame in the US, the spread of the wolves and the possible dangers to cattle and I must confess I’m not convinced that it would be a very good idea helping a a highly skilled predator to make a foot hold here.

Bob, posted this comment on Sep 18th, 2012

I was in shock to read at Wikipedia, in an article about coyotes attacking humans, of the death of a female musician by two or three coyotes.

If any coyotes attacked me or my pets, I would destroy the coyotes with my bare hands and wring out their blood until it flooded the streets. Then I would piss and shit on the dead coyotes and spit upon them and do a dance across their entrails.

These are furry vultures, nothing more.

Death to all coyotes and prayers for the poor woman who was killed from an attack by coyotes.

These mongrels belong in a zoo, the rest should be dropped in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Brenda Nelson, posted this comment on Sep 18th, 2012

to Bob
There have been cases of mistaken identity with coyotes getting the blame for wolf/coyote hybrid attacks. But for sure if you are under attack you should fight back.

To suggest killing all coyotes because of one supposed attack on a person is wrong, I see coyotes all the time and have no problem scaring them off just by walking towards them, if coyotes did attack a person it was because people have trained them not to be afraid, coyotes are normally very timid.

Gregory A Beckman, posted this comment on Dec 29th, 2012

This was very interesting. I will have to keep these tips in mind next time in in the woods!

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