For more information on living with urban wildlife, see the
Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Living with Wildlife
Web pages at azgfd.gov/urbanwildlife or call the
Flagstaff (928) 774-5045 Pinetop (928) 367-4281
Kingman (928) 692-7700 Tucson (520) 628-5376
Mesa (480) 981-9400 Yuma (928) 342-0091
Phoenix (602) 942-3000
Other Web sites include the Stanley Park Ecology Society
at stanleyparkecology.ca for urban coyote information,
and the Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management
at wildlifedamage.unl.edu for wildlife damage information.
You can also go to a search engine and type in “living with
coyotes” or “coyote roller” for related sites.
Portions of this brochure were reproduced with the
permission of the Stanley Park Ecology Society, Vancouver,
Are Coyotes Dangerous?
On rare occasions, human-fed coyotes have bitten people.
Although naturally curious, coyotes are usually timid
animals that run away if challenged. Coyotes can be a risk
to people once they become comfortable around humans,
usually as a result of feeding or indifference. When this
occurs, coyotes lose their natural fear and learn to see
humans, their yards and their pets as food sources and
safe havens. You must aggressively discourage coyotes
from feeling comfortable around you and your family by
never intentionally feeding coyotes, eliminating attractants
(food sources, including pet food) from your yard, using
aggressive gestures toward coyotes when you see them,
and encouraging your neighbors to do the same.
Arizona Game and Fish Department
5000 W. Carefree Highway
Phoenix, AZ 85086
The Arizona Game and Fish Department prohibits discrimination on the
basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, or disability in its programs
and activities. If anyone believes that they have been discriminated against
in any of the AGFD’s programs or activities, including employment prac-tices,
they may file a complaint with the Deputy Director, 5000 W. Carefree
Highway, Phoenix, AZ 85086, (602) 942-3000, or with the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service, 4040 N. Fairfax Drive, Ste. 130, Arlington, VA 22203.
Persons with a disability may request a reasonable accommodation or this
document in an alternative format by contacting the Deputy Director as
Coyotes are wild canines that are clever and opportu-nistic.
They are well adapted to living in cities, suburbs,
rural towns and agricultural areas. When developments
are built in their habitat, coyotes are not permanently
displaced. Some move on to other areas, but many
simply adjust to their new environment. Coyotes can
be seen at golf courses, parks, preserves and in many
neighborhoods—maybe even yours!
Coyote Tra its and Behaviors
• Coyotes live throughout Arizona and in every state
except Hawaii. Their range has expanded with the
human removal of their predators, such as the wolf.
• They weigh 15-30 pounds. Females are slightly
smaller than males.
• Coyotes eat whatever is available, including seeds,
dates and other fruit, dead animals, rodents, rabbits,
garbage, pet food, house cats and small dogs.
• They breed every year. They have two to 12 pups per
litter, with an average of six. Pups are raised in a den.
• Coyotes may be seen in groups, called packs, or alone.
• Removing coyotes from one area generally results in
other coyotes moving in from surrounding areas and
It is generally not
normal for coyotes
to attack or pursue
humans; it is a
to human feeding
L i v i n g w i t h
What Should I Do If a Coyote Approaches Me?
Remember, the human is dominant and must act that way.
Here are some things to remember:
• Never approach a coyote.
• Show you are dominant by keeping eye contact with
• Yell or make loud noises with whistles, blaring music,
or pots and pans.
• Encourage coyotes to leave by spraying with a hose,
throwing sticks or rocks near them, or shaking a can
filled with pennies or pebbles.
• Don’t stimulate a coyote’s chase instinct by running.
• Pick up small pets.
• Protect small children so they won’t panic and run.
How Ca n I Keep My Pet Sa fe?
Pets most likely to be endangered by coyotes are typically
off-leash or smaller than 25 pounds. Coyotes have taken
cats and small dogs in the vicinity of their owners and occa-sionally
right off the leash. Coyotes have also been reported
to attack larger dogs when the coyotes are in groups, or
after one or two have lured a dog away from its owner. Here
are suggestions for keeping your dog or cat safe:
• Supervise small pets at all times when outside.
• Allow pets off-leash only in enclosed areas. If your dog
is off-leash, be sure it has immediate recall response to
How Ca n I Discoura ge Coyotes from
Entering My Backyard ?
If there is a regular coyote food source in one yard on your
block, then coyotes will be active throughout the neigh-borhood.
All potential food sources must be removed to
keep the coyotes from becoming dangerously comfortable
around humans. An indifferent attitude toward a coyote in
your yard has the same effect as feeding it. If a coyote is
in your yard, then you need to make the animal aware it is
not welcome. Here are some things you can do:
• Do not feed wildlife.
• Store garbage inside or in wildlife-proof containers.
• Place trash containers outside at the last possible time
on day of pickup.
• Feed pets inside or remove uneaten pet food between
• Keep pets indoors or on a leash. When outside, keep
pets in a secure enclosure with a roof or supervise at
• Supervise small children.
• Trim back plants and bushes around the house to
prevent hiding or resting places.
• Install outdoor lighting.
• Reduce a coyote’s ability to get over a fence or wall by
building it at least 6 feet tall, burying the bottom a few
inches underground, and installing barbed wire, electric
wire, or a pipe that spins around a wire on the top.
Also, to scare a coyote away, you should act as large and
threatening as possible. Make aggressive gestures with
your arms and legs, or by waving an object at the animal.
Move toward an area with other people or a building.
What About Childr en’s Sa fety?
Small children can be at risk from coyotes. However, in
Arizona, it is rare for a coyote to bite any human. In Mari-copa
County, eight coyote bites were reported between
1994 and 2004, and all of them were attributed to human
feeding. Supervise children under 5 years old wherever
wildlife may be a concern, especially near a source of
water like a pool, around streets that coyotes can use
as travel corridors, and with
domestic dogs that could
attract or fight with coyotes.
prevent conflicts with coyotes and other wildlife.
• Take steps to keep coyotes out of your yard (see tips
• If you see a coyote when walking your dog, then let the
coyote know you are there. Either gather your dog in
your arms or keep it as close to you as possible, while
also using some of the deterrents described above.
Move toward an area of human activity.
• Keep cats indoors or in a secure outdoor enclosure to
protect them from coyotes, other wildlife (owls, hawks,
etc.) and also from cars, domestic dogs and disease.
You can also make a “coyote shaker,” which is a soft drink
can filled with washers, pebbles or pennies, wrapped in
foil and taped closed, or you can make a “can clanger,”
which is three or four empty cans connected to each
other with string or rubber bands. Shake either of these
to scare away coyotes. The combination of the light reflect-ing
on the foil or cans, the noise made by the clanging
of the cans, and the aggressive gesture of shaking them
provides several deterrents.
What About Rab ies?
Coyotes can be rabid. However, the Arizona Department
of Health Services records show an extremely low occur-rence
of rabid coyotes in the state.
A unified neighborhood effort is
crucial to keep coyotes away from
your home and yard.
Know the Law
It is your responsibility to know the laws. Coyotes can
only be captured or killed by someone with a proper
license from the Arizona Game and Fish Department,
or in defense of yourself or another person. Check
your local ordinances regarding the use of firearms
It is unlawful to feed coyotes in Maricopa and Pima
Counties per Arizona Revised Statute 13-2927.
Violations can result in a fine of up to $300.
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