People and coyotes have coexisted in relative peace for many decades. You may have even seen a coyote out on your visits to Louisville Open Space. Coyotes in urban areas thrive as there is an abundance of food, water, and shelter for them. With such close interaction with coyotes, they have become habituated to our presence and have become less fearful. Although, coyotes pose little threat to us, it is still important to know what to do when you come across one. You can follow these simple guidelines to help prevent any unwanted conflicts with coyotes:
If you are approached by a coyote
- Be as BIG and LOUD as possible
- In a LOUD and FORCEFUL voice, command the coyote to GO AWAY
- Use arm gestures to exaggerate your size and voice
- Keep small children near you; do not let them run away
- ALWAYS keep your pets on leash, preferably less than 6 feet. Never let your dog play with or chase a coyote
- If you have a small pet, pick them up in your arms
- Throw objects (not food) adjacent to the coyote
- Slowly walk away from the coyote while keeping an eye on it. There is no need to run.
To help prevent coyote conflicts at your home
- Do not leave your pets or small children unsupervised in your yard
- Install fences at least 6 feet tall. Check with your HOA
- NEVER leave any food out for animals or your pets. Most coyote attacks have occurred from coyotes that have been fed by humans
- Remove any other attractants to coyotes from your yard. For a list of common attractants please view this checklist.
It is also important to be able to recognize the difference between normal and abnormal coyote behavior:
- While it is more common to see coyotes at dusk and dawn, they may also be out during midday. This especially common during the winter when food is scarce and February through May when coyotes are breeding and rearing pups
- Coyotes are very inquisitive animals and will often stop and watch your activity. They may even follow you for a short distance.
- Snarling, baring teeth at humans
- Chasing or stalking (crouching low to the ground and hiding behind objects while following)
More information on coyotes from the Division of Wildlife: