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Urban Coyotes

Urban Coyotes

Coyotes are found throughout the West and thrive in many urban areas, including downtown Denver. They can thrive in any neighborhood that provides food, water, shelter, and space. As coyotes adapt to the presence of humans, they lose their natural fear of people. The best way to protect people, pets, livestock, and coyotes is to discourage them from visiting your property.

Coyote attacks on humans are rare. In many cases, these attacks occur as a result of people feeding coyotes. Coyotes have adequate natural food supplies and are capable of surviving in the city without our help. A coyote that associates humans with food may become demanding and aggressive. A coyote that bites a person must be destroyed. When feeding coyotes, you put yourself, your neighborhood (including pets and livestock), and the coyotes at risk. It is unlawful to feed or intentionally attract coyotes in most urban areas.

Coyotes Near Homes

  1. Never feed coyotes!
  2. Coyotes are attracted to areas with rodents, so remove sources of food and rodent hiding places in your yard and garden.
  3. Remove fallen fruit and bird seed.
  4. Secure trash with a locking lid, or put your trash out on the morning of trash pickup.
  5. Use compost containers that do not attract rodents instead of having compost piles on your property.
  6. Trim vegetation and remove unnecessary piles of wood and clutter to reduce rodent hiding places, and store necessary items off of the ground.
  7. Work with your neighbors to discourage coyotes from your neighborhood.
  8. Frighten coyotes away by spraying them with a garden hose, yelling, or banging pots and pans to help them re-learn their healthy and natural fear of humans.
  9. Call local law enforcement and the Colorado Department of Wildlife (CDOW) at 303.291.7227 to report coyotes that are behaving aggressively toward humans.

Pets & Coyotes

  1. Keep your pets on a short leash when walking outdoors. Do not use retractable leashes or allow them to walk or run on their own, off-leash.
  2. Keep your pets up-to-date on vaccinations.
  3. Keep all pet food and treats indoors.
  4. Never allow your pets to play with a coyote.
  5. Pick up small pets if confronted by a coyote.
  6. If a coyote approaches you and your pet, yell, stomp your feet and throw small rocks or sticks at it.
  7. Always supervise your pet whenever outside, especially at dawn and dusk.
  8. Never leave cats or dogs outside after dark.
  9. If you must leave your pet outside, secure it in a fully enclosed kennel.
  10. If you have chickens, sheep, or young livestock, contact your local extension office for appropriate methods to prevent predation by coyotes.
  11. Contact local law enforcement to report coyotes that are behaving aggressively toward pets.

Facts About Coyotes

  1. Coyotes are active year-round, especially during their breeding season from February to March.
  2. Coyotes are active throughout the day, but especially at dawn and dusk.
  3. Coyotes are highly adaptable and can live and make their dens in parks and yards.
  4. Coyotes may see pets as food, competition, or as a threat and can become aggressive.
  5. Coyotes keep watch near their dens to keep threats away from their young.

Things to Teach Children

  1. Never approach wild animals (alive or dead) or dogs you don’t know.
  2. If a coyote approaches, wave your arms, stomp your feet, and tell it loudly to “Go away!”
  3. Call for help. If the animal doesn’t leave, walk out of the area, keeping the animal in your sight.

Adaptation to Humans

Coyotes have adapted to living in cities and neighborhoods because our environment supports them. Their populations may fluctuate, but they typically won’t leave once they are established. Eradication programs in North American cities have proven to be expensive failures, as these animals have adapted to our presence and have lost their natural fear of people. That doesn’t mean you can’t do anything – you can! It is imperative that communities work together to instill the healthy and natural fear of humans back into coyotes – for their own health and safety, as well as ours. Coyotes are quick learners, and consistent negative experiences can teach them to avoid people.

Take Steps to Prevent Conflict

Follow the advice presented on this web page to eliminate the things that attract rodents and coyotes around your property, and safeguard your pets, including when walking in open spaces or areas where coyotes may be present.
For more information, or to report the feeding of coyotes or their aggressive behavior towards humans, please contact the Colorado Division of Wildlife, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., by calling 303.291.7227. To report an aggressive coyote after hours, call the Colorado State Patrol at 303.239.4501. Information is also available on the Colorado Department of Wildlife website.

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