Coyotes are dog-like mammals with sharp teeth and thick grey fur. Coyotes weigh around 20-40 lbs and are typically nocturnal. During the warm summer months, coyotes may be more active during daylight hours. A coyote will enter into urban areas and near homes in search of food. When coyotes enter into these urban areas, they pose a risk to small pets such as cats or dogs. Coyotes are likely to prey on house pets if they come in close proximity to them on your property.
What does a Coyote look like?
Smaller than wolves, coyotes grow to about the same size as medium dog breeds like German shepherds. They have large, pointed ears, narrow muzzles tipped with dark noses, and keen hearing and senses of smell. Most coyotes have grizzled, coarse fur gray or tan in color. Their bushy tails are often tipped with black. Most active at night, coyote howls and high-pitched yelps can be heard when they gather in social groups to hunt or feed.
What does a Coyote eat?
In urban areas, these animals often hunt from sundown to sunrise. This may lead residents to wonder if coyotes are nocturnal. In their natural habitats, away from noise and people, coyotes are often active during the day. Near homes and yards, a coyote will hunt in daylight only when food is hard to find.
As carnivores, coyotes hunt down small animals like squirrels, rabbits, and mice. Packs of the animal can take down larger prey such as deer. Additionally, they are not above scavenging for a meal and will eat carrion or garbage left by humans. Fruits, vegetables, and small creatures like frogs or crayfish also make up a small part of their diets.
The canines can live in nearly any conditions but prefer open plains and thinly forested areas. Their natural habitat ranges from Southern Central America to Northern Canada and across the entirety of the United States. Increasing numbers of coyotes are found in urban environments like San Antonio and Chicago such as parks given suitable cover from predators. Deserts are also favorite habitats, as they are rife with prey like mice and lizards. We most commonly remove coyotes from properties in Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, Louisiana, and South Carolina. Contact your local Trutech office today to learn about our coyote removal and exclusion services!
The coyote howl sound is a clear indication to humans that the animals are nearby. Although they rarely attack people, their natural curiosity can lead to risky encounters. Small domestic pets are also in danger of becoming a coyote’s meal.
If coyote sounds are loud and occur frequently, a pack is probably living nearby. If this is the case, keep a close eye on cats and dogs, as small pets are favorable prey. The vicious pests will also invade lawns containing open pet food dishes, compost piles, and vegetable gardens. When needed, their keen intelligence is put to use by climbing over, chewing through, and digging underneath fencing.
Restrictions on Coyote Traps
In addition to being ineffective, the practice of setting coyote traps is heavily regulated by law. States usually require permits or licenses to attempt trapping and have specific seasons when it’s allowed. In these areas, possession and relocation of live coyotes is likely illegal, with even more restrictions on killing one that is trapped. State or local wildlife divisions may have an additional rules. The experts at Trutech have the knowledge and experience necessary to ensure proper handling of nuisance coyotes.
Frequently Asked Questions
When coyotes are active at night, they enter yards with exposed trash, pet food, or fallen fruit. Rodents also attract the animals. In addition, coyotes view some pets and livestock, like caged rabbits and chickens, as prey.
To avoid people, coyotes often retreat from towns once they finish hunting. However, it is not uncommon for packs to live in urban areas with plenty of food sources. Among buildings, dense brush, and culverts, a coyote has many places to hide.
Although it may seem like coyotes are nocturnal, this behavior results from human activity. Regardless of the time of day, residents should keep pets outside under careful watch and secure livestock in sturdy pens. For exclusion or removal support when coyotes are active, call the team at Trutech.
Coyote droppings, also called scat, can vary in size and composition. Generally, their feces are several inches long, the diameter of a cigar, and tapered at the end. As coyotes eat small animals, birds, and insects, excrement will contain bits of bone, feathers, fur, and insect exoskeletons. Scat color typically ranges from dark black to gray, depending on the pest’s diet. Poop produced on a meat diet is runny and black, while a fruit diet leads to crumbly stool. Furthermore, coyote droppings turn light gray color when bleached by the sun.
A howl is used for communication, sometimes serving as a request for other pack members to check inor distract predators from a den site. Males also use the sound to warn others away from their territory. Beyond a coyote howl, sounds like huffs and yelps have other meanings. A huff is an expelling of air through the nose and mouth, used to express displeasure or quietly call to pups. Yelps are a form of chatter or bickering used among small groups.
When viewing coyote tracks in mud or soil, impressions from front feet will be larger than those of rear feet. The prints will also be longer than they are wide. Front paw prints are approximately two and half inches long, give or take a quarter inch, with a width anywhere from one and three-quarters inches to two and a quarter inches. The overall shape is oval. Compared to dog tracks, coyote tracks are more oblong, compact, and have less prominent claws. Coyote footprints in snow should be measured at the bottom of the print, not where it breaks the surface of the snowpack.
Because coyotes and wolves are both in the canine family, they can be hard to tell apart at a distance. However, these are very different animals with several distinguishing characteristics. Wolves are substantially larger and bulkier, weighing 80 to 150 pounds, whereas coyotes are a thin and sleek 15 to 50 pounds. A wolf may also reach up to six and a half feet long from nose to tail, and a coyote tops out at four and a half feet long. Smart and crafty coyotes have adapted to human land development and still thrive all over the U.S. Wolves, widely feared and hunted, are more common to the western half of the country.
While homeowners rarely spot them in groups near houses, coyotes are pack animals because they can travel and hunt together. Family relationships and age often determine if a coyote hunts alone or with a group.
Sometimes coyotes do hunt in packs around houses when they have a den nearby. When the animals travel in groups, it is usually because they are related. A male and female coyote make a den to raise their young, hunting alone or in pairs in the meantime. As the pups get older, these family units typically move and search for prey together for about 12 months.
While together in a group, the animals have a smaller range. A single coyote can roam farther. When coyotes do travel in packs, they have a home range of 2 to 10 miles. Once young pups are about a year old, they disperse to new areas about 30 to 50 miles from the family group.