Coyotes pose a problem throughout the United States. These predatory animals have adapted to urban landscapes in addition to their native rural lands. They pose a danger not only to pets but also to humans. The first step in dealing with coyotes is being able to recognize them.
The coyote is a member of the canidae (dog) family along with wolves, jackals, coyotes, foxes and domestics dogs. At first glance, a coyote might appear to be a dog, but upon closer examination, you’ll notice telltale characteristics that differ from dogs:
- Long, lanky legs
- Thick, bushy tails
- Large, pointed ears
- Long, pointed nose
While these characteristics are common in some dog breeds, they are exaggerated in coyotes. Their fur tends to be nondescript—in hues of brown and/or gray.
Since a coyote can make a four-foot horizontal jump, both you and your pets are in danger. It’s best to avoid areas where coyotes have been spotted.
- Never leave your pet unattended outdoors.
- Walk your dog on a leash.
- Practice situational awareness whenever you’re outside—be aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Don’t leave food and water outside. That’s an open invitation to wildlife.
See information on coyote safety, including a link to coyote hazing recommendations from the United States Humane Society.