Myths And Truths About Coyotes

We’ve been taught for generations that a coyote is a predator to fear. It just depends. They can be a liability or your ally. Coyotes will go after small livestock and pets if the opportunity presents itself. But they'll also gobble up dozens of rodents, snakes, rabbits, and roadkill.

Dwayne Etter is a wildlife research specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. He says coyotes are opportunistic, so you have to make it difficult for them to snatch a meal.

"A coyote can clear a fence smaller than four feet pretty easily," says Etter. "If you get a fence 4 or 5 or 6 feet tall, they’re gonna have a more difficult time getting over that fence. Electric fences can be somewhat successful, keeping those animals inside at night, inside a barn."

Coyotes are active both day-and-night, but you'll see them more often at sunrise and sunset. They're very adaptable and can live just about anywhere as long as there's food and shelter available. If you want them to set up housekeeping elsewhere, try fooling them into believing there's no vacancy at your place.

"Use tape recordings of other coyotes howling. Sometimes that would indicate to them that maybe there’s a pack in that area and they should move on," he says. "To actually get rid of them permanently, they can be trapped and hunted. In most states they’re legal game and they can be killed if they’re causing problems."

Coyotes rarely attack humans, but you should never intentionally feed or try to tame them. It's in the best interest of everyone if they remain instinctively afraid of people.

Learn more coyotes and their behavior

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