Urban Coyotes? Looking For Them In All The Wrong Places?

As the 1980's pop tune from the hit movie Urban Cowboy suggests: "We were looking for [coyotes] in all the wrong places."

Chances are, there are coyotes living near you, even if you're not seeing them. While the term "sly as a fox" was intended for the coyotes' biological cousins, "coyotes" are just as smart, if not smarter than the fox. They adapt quickly and are instinctively good at not being seen, especially in urban areas.

Pushing Boundaries

According to a recent National Geographic report, coyotes have expanded their range of territory to 49 states and are pushing south into Central America.

In fact, in NYC, one daring individual coyote hopped onto a roof to train in Queens en route to the Florida Keys. Coyotes recently migrated as far south as Panama, where they’re now poised to enter South America for the first time.

Today's cover photo [above] shows one boldly taking a seat on a light rail in Portland, Oregon back in 2002. [There's no word however, whether he got to his destination safely?]

Start looking in all the right places . . .

Coyotes can find every thing they need in urban areas from your trash to your gardens. They can even climb great heights to raid the top of your apple tree. But their pièce de résistance are "rodents"— which makes them appealing to us humans.

According to Stan Gehrt, an Ohio State University wildlife ecologist: "We consistently underestimate this animal and its ability to adjust and adapt." Gehrt studied Chicago’s coyotes for nearly a decade, shortly after coyotes relocated to Chicago, the nation’s third largest city. “They push the boundaries of what we perceive to be constraints,” noted Gehrt.

For instance, at the onset of Gehrt's research, it was his belief that  coyotes were restricted to parks and green spaces. He was wrong. “Now we have coyotes everywhere—every neighborhood, every suburban city, and downtown," added Gehrt.

Coexisting With Coyotes

So, if they're so prolific, as the saying goes, "if you can't beat them, why not join them?" Well not literally, but at least find ways to co-exist with them.

Gina Farr, from the nonprofit Project Coyote says the killing or removing coyotes isn't the solution. After all, having them clean up a city's rodent problem is a major contribution.

Yet to co-exist with them, we need to make sure they don't get too comfortable around us, for both our safety as well as theirs.

Coyote Hazing

"They're very smart and trainable. Every encounter trains them how to act around us," Farr says.

In order to avoid dangerous encounters, experts recommend "coyote hazing," This is the process of scaring coyotes off so they learn to avoid people. According to the Humane Society of the United States, hazing consists of using deterrents, such as noisemakers, small projectiles or a hose, to move the coyote out of a specific area (your yard, for example).

Project Coyote's Coyote Hazing Field Guide, offers detailed instructions for hazing. It recommends that you stand your ground, make eye contact and "advance toward the coyote with your hazing tools," while demonstrating no hesitation.

"The coyote may run away but then stop after a distance and look at you. [At that point], it is important to continue to haze the coyote until he completely leaves the area." Farr adds that the goal is to teach the coyote that he is not welcome in a particular space. "We want to reinforce boundaries between what's acceptable coyote behavior and what isn't."                  


By the way, the missing 50th state where a fox has not been found is Hawaii. Guess they haven't figured out how to board a plane or catch a cruise ship. But, don't be surprised some time in the future, if they don't figure that out too.

Primary Source: vetStreet


Some of the sites we link to are affiliates. We may earn a small commission if you use our links.