If you’re dealing with coyotes rummaging through your trash cans, scaring your pets, or keeping you awake with their loud howling, then today’s your lucky day. In this article we’re going to shed some light on coyote issues and discuss tips on how to keep coyotes out of your yard.
Coyotes are generally shy animals that prefer to keep their distance from humans. However, due to a variety of factors such as loss of habitat — encounters with coyotes are becoming more and more common.
Make sure it’s a coyote
At first glance it can be tricky to tell whether you’re looking at a coyote, a wolf, or a stray dog. Luckily, there are a few key characteristics that set coyotes apart from these other canines.
Though they share many similarities with grey wolves, coyotes are smaller in size and possess thinner frames, faces, and muzzles. Coyotes also walk with their tails pointed downward, while wolves carry their tails horizontally.
While coyotes have different colorations depending on their geographical location, they’re most often a light, or even reddish, grey. They often feature white markings around the face as well as a bushy, black-tipped tail.
When it comes to coyotes and dogs, check out their legs. The elbow joints on coyotes are located lower on the chestline, making them appear to have longer legs than dogs.
Behavior is another indicator when determining the difference between a dog or a coyote — coyotes are typically much more skittish than a regular dog. However, with coyotes becoming more familiar with human society, many of them are losing their fear of people.
How Dangerous are Coyotes?
Though coyotes are not normally aggressive towards humans, it’s always best to approach them with caution. A scared or threatened coyote may attack when provoked or cornered.
Attacks towards humans are rare, but coyotes are infamous for snatching up pets and livestock like chickens and rabbits. Never leave your animals or small children unattended outside if you have coyotes in the area.
Coyotes can also carry a host of diseases that could infect your pets. These include rabies, canine distemper, and canine hepatitis among others. They may also carry nasty parasites like fleas, ticks, and worms.
How to keep coyotes out of your yard – 5 helpful tips
If you’re suffering from coyotes disrupting the peace of your yard or neighborhood, then there are some important tips to keep in mind.
When coyotes become comfortable lurking around your property, it’s time to make it clear that they aren’t allowed. This is when hazing comes in — it’s a method that discourages coyotes from coming around you and your yard.
There are many different ways to use hazing to scare coyotes and keep them off your property. If you encounter a coyote try using one of these tricks:
- Shake a can full of pennies or a similar noise maker
- Bang pots and pans
- Make yourself appear bigger and shout at the coyote to leave
- Wave your arms and clap your hands to startle the coyote
- Throw small rocks or other items near the coyote — but try not to hit it directly
- Spray the coyote with a hose or water gun
To get the most out of hazing, be sure to follow through with these tips every time you encounter a coyote in the area. Over time the coyote will learn not to come around.
The coyote may not leave right away, so continue to use these methods until it flees. If nothing seems to be scaring the coyote away it may be an indication that someone in the neighborhood is feeding it, which brings us to our next tip.
2. Removing Food Sources
Food is probably the biggest motivator for an animal’s behavior. If you keep seeing coyotes in your yard or in the neighborhood, chances are there’s food nearby.
To make your property less appealing to coyotes, make sure to remove any sources of food. This could include unsecure garbage cans, pet food left outside, or leftovers from an outdoor party or barbecue. Do not add meat or bones to compost piles, as coyotes are attracted to these scents.
If you keep livestock such as chickens, ducks, or goats it’s crucial to make sure their shelters are coyote-proof. Taking your pets inside at night is another key step for ensuring your pets safety.
3. Fencing Options
Coyotes are very agile, so a fence that’s under six feet tall isn’t going to keep them out. On the bright side, there are fencing options that will help keep coyotes out of your yard.
Electric fences are great for protecting your property, especially if you own livestock or other farm animals. The shock from passing over one of these fences would certainly discourage a coyote from returning.
Another option is to install rollers at the top of your fence so that coyotes can’t jump over it. Unfortunately, this still won’t do much if your fence is on the shorter end. The best types of fences to use are privacy fences over six feet tall. Don’t forget to bury it deep, since coyotes like to dig too.
4. Light Devices
Using motion activated light devices is a great way to keep coyotes at bay. These devices use flashes of LED light to trick coyotes into believing that they have been noticed by another animal.
Once the coyote thinks it’s being watched, a natural instinct is triggered, causing them to flee.
Some light devices, like this one from Amazon, are solar powered, making them convenient and energy efficient. Place them around your yard to get automatic, hands-off protection at night.
5. Wolf Urine
Wolves are a coyote’s worst enemy. In fact, one of the reasons the coyote population is thriving is because wolf populations are decreasing.
Using wolf urine around your property sends the message to coyotes that this territory is taken. Once they smell the urine, coyotes believe a wolf is in the area and stay away.
Make sure to reapply it after a rain or an extended period of time, as it will lose its potency.
Other Tips to Keep in Mind
- Never turn your back on a coyote — always face it
- Don’t run from a coyote, they can reach speeds up to 40 mph
- Always walk your dog on a leash
- Try to avoid walking before the sun is out and after it sets in the evening
Though coyotes fulfill a unique and positive role in our ecosystem — they’re also capable of wreaking havoc in the neighborhood. Hopefully, these tips will help you keep coyotes out of your yard for good.