Coyotes anyone?

rococogurlOctober 5, 2006

Yep, I'm looking out the bathroom window this morning and I see an animal crossing the yard a bit down the ravine. It definitely wasn't a dog or a cat or a deer.

I thought a fox but it was nearly as big as a dog. It was gray with a bushy tail.

My painter said it must be a coyote. I've heard they're around and we do hear howling but never saw one and the moment he said it I realized what it must be.

Anyone with real coyote (not coyote ugly) experience? Do they ever attack people?

It was a red letter day. The painter saw a new black snake sunning on the driveway. This one was only 4 feet long.

I live on the 12th floor usually and grew up in L.A. so you can imagine my reaction to this. DH is still in the city. The power went out in the middle of the night and the thud woke me up and there are no neighbors here, just trees. I don't scare easily but I think I'm a bit spooked.

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We have dozens of coyotes on our property! They come right into the yard; in fact just today I saw a pile of poo by the barn. A few years ago a coyote attacked my chickens, which were roaming around the yard at the time. It grabbed one and tried to get away with her, but I screamed and cursed at it until it dropped the chicken. My dog absolutely hates coyotes and goes nuts whenever she hears one, altho as a flock guardian dog, she is bred to do so.

But to answer your question about coyotes attacking people--don't worry about that. They're more interested in your cat or small dog than a person. We have seen evidence of coyotes taking down small deer on our property, usually the current year's young, so they are large enough to do that. They mostly live on mice, rabbits, other small mammals, ground birds, and whatever berries or fruit they can get. Make sure you keep your pets inside or on a leash, and not just at night. Coyotes are active and hunting at all times of the day. They will also get to know your routine, so if you let your little dog out in the yard at the same time every day, it will be an easy target.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2006 at 7:25PM
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We have coyotes roaming around too. They do make off with cats and small dogs - our neighbor lost his dog, presumably to a coyote. They did make me nervous in our new house until we got the fence up. DD likes to play outside and once came dashing in to the house when she saw one.

We also have javelinas running around. They're cute until you get chased by one, speaking from personal experience.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2006 at 8:04PM
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I had coyotes in my old neighborhood, which was so surprising to me because there wasn't a ton of unused land around. I saw them numerous times...once a pair walking down the sidewalk, (!!), several times dashing across the street, once one was just laying at the entrance to the next neighborhood, and another time hanging out in my next door neighbor's yard.

I asked my vet about it, because I walk my dogs daily and worried if it was dark. He said that they avoid people, and the only time they might attack is if you accidentally stumbled upon their den with pups, or if it was a starving pack. With all the food in the trash, they weren't starving! I still worried if I was walking when it was dark, and kept up a lively patter with my dogs so the coyotes would hear me and hopefully run away ;)

I was ok with letting my dogs out alone, because our yard had a 6' fence.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2006 at 8:33PM
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We, too, have coyotes. We saw one at our back fence eyeballing the guinea hens one day. Within a few months, all our guineas were gone :( even though we cooped them at night. We happened to be between dogs at that time so I don't know whether or not having a dog now will keep the coyotes away from the birds. I'm a little afraid to start over now because it was tough to keep losing the birds one by one. They're pets. We never lost the birds when we had our German Shorthair, but he died a few years ago. We now have a medium-sized dog (Bassett/Beagle) and I have no idea whether or not she would deter coyotes. I also have a suspicion that it wasn't *just* coyotes getting our birds, because our renters/neighbors got a bunch of dogs and we've had trouble with them several times. The last time, their dogs attacked our dog and did a lot of damage. We found a couple of the guinea carcasses mostly intact, with just the hind end chewed off, and in the vicinity of the neighbor's yard. It doesn't seem like coyotes would do that but I'm no expert. I've heard that racoons will chew a carcass that way but this was in broad daylight and I didn't think racoons hunted by day.

Anyway, I have become especially vigilant when the kids are in the yard since our birds were taken. I don't know whether or not a coyote would take on a 3-year-old but I'd rather not find out. The place where we saw the coyote (a beautiful, big, healthy guy) is only a few yards from the kids' play area.

There are lots of coyotes across the street in the fields (a few thousand acres of wildland) and also behind our house in a state preserve, so I know there are plenty of them around us.

Here is something kind of interesting--it's a bobcat walking on our back deck.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2006 at 9:29PM
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My father has coyotes at his house (where I grew up) and we have them here are well. They WILL take cats, small dogs, pet rabbits, etc. However, they will not go after people except in rare circumstances. The cases I have heard of, it was a very small child in an area that is very congested (where they presumably have trouble finding food). I am pretty sure there was an attack or two on Cape Cod. Watching the ones in the field behind my father's house is entertaining. They build a den and hunt for field mice, flipping them in the air like a cat wood. They seem to be great parents, like wolves.

If you have a cat do not let it go out, ever, if there are coyotes in the area.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2006 at 10:21PM
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Same here. Coyotes aren't the problem. The problem is when they mate with domestic dogs. Up here, their offspring are known as coy-dogs, and they're dangerous. The reason is they have the carnal instaincts of the coyotes, and the loss of fear of humans from the dog, and that makes for a very dangerous situation. When I first moved up here, I lived up toward Bar Harbor, where there's a heavy coy-dog population, and there was a news story about a young child who was attacked in its back yard just before we moved up here. Even with the coy-dogs, though, as long as some common sense is used, they won't be a problem.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2006 at 10:39PM
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I'm in the Boston burbs and we also have coyotes. The ones we have seem fearful/skitish when they see/hear humans.

A couple of years ago there was an attack south of Boston. Two good size dogs were attacked by a pack, about 4-5 coyotes. Last year a 70 yr old man was attacked and follow up tests showed that the coyote was sick, not sure if it was rabies.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2006 at 11:40PM
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After seeing the bobcat on Seeking's deck I guess ole Wiley coyote doesn't seem so menacing. Glad to know they don't act like escaped zoo animals.

No house pets or birds here so that's not an issue. Perhaps the coyote was cruising along the outskirts of the beaver dam looking for one of those guys. We have loads of wild turkeys but they don't seem to be bothered.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2006 at 7:41AM
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rococogirl-- where abouts are you that you have beaver? Sounds like you're up in my neck of the woods-- LITERALLY! :-)

    Bookmark   October 6, 2006 at 8:24AM
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Bill, in Hudson Valley, not near you. But we have a stream behind our house with 2 beaver dams which have created a large pool and slowed down the water flow (alas). They are very active and it's impossible to get rid of them, evidently, although their activities make things look very tropical in the summer with lotus and an amazing landscape. I should take a pic and post it for you as it's really quite pretty. We do see them from time to time.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2006 at 7:08PM
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Bill, unfortunately you don't have the monopoly on beavers!! LOL There are plenty in the Boston burbs ... who would have thought. I think some anti-traping laws were passed in the early 90's which have increased their numbers and changed the landscape in many areas.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2006 at 9:07PM
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Hudson Valley, I can believe, but BOSTON?? You'd never think a critter like that would be found around a big city!! Of course, I'm told of an incident about 5 years before I moved back up here where there was a vehicle/ moose accident right in town Portland!! It was even with one of my ex employer's vans!

    Bookmark   October 6, 2006 at 11:42PM
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Coyotes and raccoons are known for adapting very efficiently to life in the big city. We used to hear coyotes howling all night long in our West L.A. neighborhood. After I saw two of them strolling across our back yard, just a few feet from the house, I stopped letting my small children play out there by themselves, though we never heard of them bothering people. Small poodles and cats disappeared all the time though.

Coyotes do seem to be everywhere now. Seems like it would be a known problem if they were a threat to people.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2006 at 12:27AM
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I don't think coyotes are a threat to people, but I think they are getting bolder and bolder when people are around as we encroach on their habitat. We lived in a more rural area just a few miles east of Portland, OR. No one there could keep small animals for any length of time because the coyotes would eventually eat them. Our neighbors often caught coyotes in their hen house at night and finally just gave up on trying to keep them. Our neighbor boy got off the school bus one afternoon in broad daylight (3 pm) to find that coyotes had just killed his 4-H sheep (that one really made me sad). A neighboring farmer was walking through his field in broad daylight and a pack of coyotes ambushed his Doberman---right in front of the farmer! And just recently, a coyote "broke into" a suburban home through the screen door and was found by the lady of the house staring at her two dogs who were kenneled in their vari-kennel...

    Bookmark   October 7, 2006 at 2:28AM
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I live in South Orange County (about an hour south of LA) in a fairly rural area (by big city standards). We have coyotes, mountain lions, racoons, bobcats, you name it. Mostly coyotes though.

Common sense says that coyotes aren't dangerous to humans but there have been a couple of coyote attacks against humans in my area in the past few years. Mostly against children. One boy was attacked on the doorstep of his house.

That said, I wouldn't approach them, wouldn't leave pet food out, and keep your pets indoors at night under all circumstances. There are NO outdoor cats in my area because of the coyotes. They don't survive one night.

We see them frequently. There is a pack that walks down my street making a howling racket at about 1 am every night. They have a very distinctive high-pitched howl. Even my pets (a dog and a cat) are used to hearing them pass by now. Sometimes I've seen them during the day, or at night in public places, like walking across a grocery store parking lot. Those are situations that are most dangerous - if they're out during the day or in populated places at night they are either extremely hungry or sick. The other night at about 8 pm I saw one trotting into the parking lot at Target as I drove out. I called Target as I drove away to let them know that it was there, and they actually stood at the door and advised customers not to leave until the coyote had left. Coyotes that daring are nothing to mess around with.

A few years ago I took a picture of a bobcat in my backyard, sitting on the fence of my 13-foot deep backyard. I stood there at the back door snapping pictures, with the bobcat 13 feet away from me, staring back.

I haven't seen a mountain lion personally but we've had several fatal attacks in my area. Again, nothing to screw around with.

Some general rules when you live among wild animals:

Don't leave food out
Don't let your children walk ahead of you on trails
If one approaches, don't run - if you have kids, pick them up without bending down, and put hem on your shoulders if you can. The idea is to make you seem bigger and scare the animal away. Don't bend down.
Don't stop on remote trails and bend down or sit down. Do so only when with other people - never alone.
Keep your pets inside at night.
Don't ever try to befriend a coyote or wild dog.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2006 at 2:49AM
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And just recently, a coyote "broke into" a suburban home through the screen door and was found by the lady of the house staring at her two dogs who were kenneled in their vari-kennel...

I've yet to hear of anything that brazen up around here. But up where I lived when I first moved up here, there was a sheep farmer who placed a 100.00 a head bounty on the coyotes in the area because he was losing too much livestock.

Actually the coyotes have never bothered me. I remember the very first week we'd moved up here, I had to go into town one night about 8:00. It was pitch black outside, except for the starlight, which was enough to silhouette the trees against the sky, and where we lived, our closest neighbor was about 3/4 mile down the road. I came out onto our front doorstep, and not 50 feet inside the treeline next to the driveway, you could hear the pack-- the pups were yippin and yappin, and the adults seemed to be tryin to simmer them down. It was really kinda neat!! The only time it really bothered me when I had contact with any kind of predator up here was one day when I came home from work and my wife explained to me that our dog had chased off what she estimated to be a black bear between 5 and 600 pounds from our garbage cans. That was a little unnerving.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2006 at 9:42AM
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A few years ago I read about trouble with coyotes in suburban Las Vegas. The idio...I mean, the uninformed homeowners who were dazzled at moving to "the country" and having wildlife around had been feeding the coyotes. Bad, bad idea. The animals had become so brazen that a couple of times, coyotes had tried to drag away small children (toddlers), one out of the yard and one from the entryway of his house!

We've not had trouble with our pets (knock, knock) except the birds. Most of the time the coyotes around here stay away from homes, as they have plenty of food elsewhere. Keeping birds appears to be a temptation they cannot resist so I think we'll not try it again. I had heard that horses will keep them away but that does not appear to be completely true, as we have 2 horses in a pasture not far from the yard. There are other ways to get to the yard, though, than through the pasture.

Great tips, snookums!

    Bookmark   October 7, 2006 at 11:42AM
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We have coyotes in our area, and lost the first lamb to them in 25 years of shepherding.

Coyotes will only take small game, as long as it is available. If rabbits and mice etc. grow scarce, then they move up to trying larger animals. Our vet just stitched up a llama that had been attacked. Packs of coyotes are more bold than singles, and also more capable of bringing down larger game. To a coyote, there is nothing sacred about humans. They are just too big to be convenient prey.

We took an ag extension course in predator control a couple of months ago. One interesting thing that we learned was that the highest per acre coyote populations in the world are in Los Angeles and Chicago. They are very adaptable critters.

Coydogs are an urban myth. Coyotes cannot mate with domestic dogs and produce viable offspring because of the differences in menstual cycles. Coyotes are fertile only for a period which allows them to produce young at a time when they will have a plentiful food supply and warm weather to raise the pups to self sufficiency. Domestic dogs are fertile every few weeks, which would mean that their offspring would be born at inopportune times and would not survive.

Coyotes do mate with wolves and some of the variation in size colour and shape of coyotes comes from such matings. All the "coydogs" people see look like brush wolves. They never see a wild beagle or poodle cross. Coy-wolf offspring are bigger than pure coyotes and require larger game to survive. You can't keep a big frame healthy and active on field mice.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2006 at 7:50AM
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Sorry, but I've got to disagree, and so does the Maine Dept of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Read the article below. It is DEFINITELY possible for dogs and coyotes to breed, and up here, they do.

Here is a link that might be useful: About the Coydog

    Bookmark   October 8, 2006 at 5:22PM
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Bill, do you all do hinky things up there? LOL.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2006 at 8:11PM
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I'll never tell!! :-)

    Bookmark   October 8, 2006 at 11:13PM
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Coyotes have attacked people, but it's very rare. Here's a recent story.

Here is a link that might be useful: Coyotes Bites Woman

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 9:50AM
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Just out of curiosity, how do you guys say coyote? I say "ky-OH-tee" but my dh says "KY-ote."

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 1:25PM
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    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 6:13PM
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In this part of the country, a KY-ote is an animal, a ky-OH-tee is a smuggler of illegal immigrants.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 6:25PM
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I've heard both pronunciations up here.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 7:28PM
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DH and I say ky-oh-tee, unless the dog is within earshot. Then we have to say just "yote" because if she hears the word ky-oh-tee, she starts barking!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 7:29PM
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Another Hudson Valley-ite here. We live in southern Dutchess County and have coyotes. I just happened across this post and thought "Holy Cow!" because I went to let my Pug, Tootie, out Saturday and noticed something out of the corner of my eye. A coyote was standing in our driveway, about 50' from us. I scooped the dog up and went inside. When I went back outside, the coyote was crossing into the woods. I figure he was tracking the scent of deer, because he seemed to be following the path the deer use when they cross our driveway before going into the woods. Needless to say, we don't let Tootie out by herself, and our cats are strictly indoors.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 9:23AM
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We have a terrible Coyote problem in our area, abt 40 miles NW of Chicago. Several of my neighbors have seen their dogs and cats being attacked by Coyotes. It is against the law to shoot a gun in my village but many people shot and killed Coyotes. Coyotes migrated to the midwest abt 30 years ago and with no natural enemy, they are WAY over populated.

A local church tried to repopulate the wild turkey to our village and they had some success. I used to see full grown turkeys ever once in a while. But the coyotes took care of them pretty quickly and the Church finally abandoned their plans.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2006 at 11:36AM
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I have lived up in the Santa Cruz Mts. CA for 20 years now and never had a problem with them. We use to hear them almost every night and see them at dawn, we are early rises, but as more houses were built the less I have seen or heard from them.
My neighbor's cat was grabbed in the middle of the night. Quite a racket so they believed it was a coyote. But that is the problem if you leave cats out at night.
What I fear more is the mountain lions and even the bobcats. They are more bold then coyotes. Oh and can't forget the rattlesnakes. We found one in the garage!

    Bookmark   October 19, 2006 at 1:29PM
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aptosca, we found a rattlesnake in the garage, too. Or rather, the dog found it and was bitten twice. He recovered from the bites but has since passed on (old age). You're right--that's more frightening than a coyote!

BTW, I live in Chico.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2006 at 5:02PM
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We have black snakes and they are huge but not poisonous like rattlers. I can remember back when I was really small that we had a rattlesnake in the garage -- I remember my mom talking to me and telling me to back away slowly and not get near it. I must have been about 3 or 4 but it's a pretty indelible experience.

Haven't seen Mr. Coyote again but I wish he'd been around the other night when I pulled up and 3 deer were having dinner on my lawn. Two of them took off and the other one looked at me as if to say "what are you doing here?" I started honking the horn and it didn't even move right away.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2006 at 11:47AM
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