Coyotes are a canine species native to North America and important to many native cultures. As known through the stories of their mythological counterparts, the coyotes we know and see around us are also wiley, intelligent, cunning creatures. If you are looking for a way to keep these furry jackals off of your property, you may want to think about the things that they fear.
As a general rule, coyotes do have a healthy dose of fear about certain things. In truth, coyotes are afraid of people, objects thrown in their direction, loud noisemakers and sounds, bright lights, and predator urine. All of these can help to repel and deter coyotes from your property.
Before we go further and learn what exactly keeps a coyote up at night (in the daytime, we mean- coyotes are naturally nocturnal), it’s best that you first understand why it is worth it to keep them away at all.
Ready? Let’s get to it.
Why Do You Need To Deter Coyotes?
So, the question of the hour, why would you need to keep coyotes away, to begin with?
Coyotes have their merits, both as natural pest control and in a more cultural context. These are beautiful animals that serve their purpose in the ecosystem just like any other. However, when it comes to your property and surrounding community, you might not want to get too friendly with these canines.
Coyotes can pose a threat to both animals and people, especially when they get too comfortable.
While coyotes tend to do humans better than harm, the fact remains that they are opportunistic feeders and, in urban settings, have been known to get into garbage, pet food, other food left out, and even small pets.
It all depends on your relationship with your environment, what animals you have, and your comfort level, but we are guessing that if you are here, you’re probably looking to deter coyotes. At the very least, you want to learn more about how they think and, well, what they are afraid of.
So, come along!
Here are some of the common issues that you’ll find if there are coyotes on your property or even in your area:
Coyotes Can Be a Nuisance Around Your Property
Whether or not it is seen as a good thing in every context, coyotes act as great animal control for smaller creatures in the area.
About 40% of their diet comes from rodents, while another 40% is a combination of other small animals and scavenged food, while only about 20% of their overall diet consists of fruit.
Coyotes are a natural predator of rodents, which can be a good thing in cities and suburbs. The rat and mouse population has met their match, and this can be great. What’s not so great? Coyotes also are known to reduce the population size of other, less pesky animals.
Basically, while it is helpful that they hunt rodents, it is less helpful than they hunt the red fox and other native species. Those are the types of animal populations that we don’t want to see reduced.
Do you own a ranch? If it’s based around goats or sheep, coyotes are not going to be your friend. In fact, they do a great job in damaging these ranches as they love to hunt these gentler animals.
Coyotes Are Not Your Pet’s Friend
Aside from the risk of ruining your ranch that acts as income, food, and a lifestyle, coyotes can also make snacks out of your pets. Unfortunate as it is, smaller domesticated animals make great prey for this sort of canine.
Denver’s Parks and Recreation Service recommends that you keep your pets from roaming freely in the daytime if coyotes have been spotted nearby. At night, on the other hand, it is advised that you keep any pets indoors altogether.
Especially in the last 20 years or so, small pets have been falling victim to coyotes. Between the increase of wild animals in urban spaces as a whole and the changed response to these animals when they are left in the wild, food sources and animal’s needs are ever-shifting.
Coyotes Can Get Aggressive When Comfortable
Coyotes, especially those dwelling in urban settings, learn to associate people with food. Anytime you feed a coyote, whether on purpose or accidentally, that association grows. Whereas at first they will be wary and have a fear of you, this fear will not last.
Each time a coyote sees a person (potentially you) and nothing bad happens to them; their guard drops down a little further.
Eventually, if they don’t get the food they have come to associate with people, they might become aggressive. This is a result of being fed in the first place or treated by humans as if they are not wild animals. Once they understand that there is availability, coyotes can become quite demanding.
Hey, if your food source was constant and became suddenly compromised, wouldn’t you be upset, too?
Nonetheless, try not to let it get to that point. Don’t ignore coyotes, but also don’t welcome them in if that makes sense.
Not quite? That’s alright. We will get to that below.
If you have concerns or if a coyote begins to get aggressive in your area or on your property, do not hesitate to reach out to a trained professional who will be able to offer the help you need.
Coyotes Are Afraid of These 5 Things
Alright, now that that is all covered, let’s get on with it.
Here are some things that coyotes are afraid of, and if you know how to utilize them, they can be fantastic deterrents without forcing you to get too involved with these larger animals.
Again, if you are ever unsure of coyotes in your area for whatever reason, we encourage you to contact wildlife control near you. Trained professionals are, of course, always the most surefire way to solve insect and animal-related problems.
Coyotes Are Naturally Afraid Of People
Now, just because they are naturally fearful of humans doesn’t exactly mean that it will stay this way. The longer that coyotes are around people, the more comfortable they will get. Eventually, it is possible that they might get aggressive.
The natural fear that coyotes feel toward humans can be used to your advantage by keeping your distance and ensuring that they do not get too comfortable with you.
For what it is worth, if you keep your contact with them limited enough and they maintain a healthy dose of fear, there is a good chance that you will be able to live more peacefully in the same vicinity.
Coyotes are naturally skittish creatures, unlike other wolves and canine relatives, and can be deterred when you make any sort of commotion. Yell, wave your arms around or toss something in their direction.
To be clear, we are not recommending that you throw anything at a coyote or any animal, really, just in their general direction in order to scare it off.
While coyotes are fearful of people, to begin with, combining your presence (yelling, waving, running around even) with some other sort of action makes a world of difference.
With that, we bring you to the next thing that coyotes are scared of.
Throw Sticks or Branches Near The Coyote
Going back to the action, let’s talk about another way to keep the coyotes at bay WITHOUT harming them or feeling the need to get too aggressive on your part.
Erie, Colorado’s Division of Wildlife confirms that throwing rocks or tennis balls, any small round-ish object that won’t cause harm really, is a great way to deter these furry intruders.
Basically, what it all boils down to is that coyotes need to feel a little threatened, or you’ll run the risk of them getting too comfortable. That means getting greedy when it comes to food and space and can turn into aggressive behavior somewhere down the road.
Don’t hurt coyotes that you see in your area, but don’t ignore them either.
Use your judgment in tossing something in their direction. Really, think of this like scaring any other animal away; you just want to startle them enough that they go away and don’t treat your property as a free-for-all.
Unless a coyote comes close to you, you should not have to make contact. If it is too close for comfort, kicking or smacking it with a stick should do the trick. This won’t hurt the coyote but, if they are that close to you, it will reinstall a healthy dose of fear toward humans that was probably much needed.
Coyotes Hate Noisemakers and Loud Sounds
Bang some pots and pans, grab an airhorn, yell a little, whatever you’ve gotta do.
If you aren’t so into the whole ‘making noise to scare the animals in the yard away’ thing, look into utilizing something like an airhorn to deter coyotes.
Perfect for a neighborhood setting where you just really don’t want your neighbors to have to see you running around banging pots together. You’ll just utilize a loud airhorn blast or two.
Use The Urine of Predators
The National Center for Biotechnology Information has done studies that show that pyrazine analogs, basically a fancy term for ‘that stuff in wolf pee,’ effectively repels animals that are threatened by wolves.
While coyotes may seem similar to wolves at first glance, they are actually much less aggressive creatures and fear their furry cousins.
Worried about hunting down some wolves, collecting their urine, and putting yourself in danger to repel a different animal? Good, you passed the test- you’re smart.
Lucky for us all, there is such a thing as 100% genuine, bottled-up wolf urine! Specifically, check out The Pee Mart’s Wolf Urine.
This product is used by gardeners, landscapers, farmers and ranchers, hunters, and others who know just how great the merit can be.
Wolves are the type of predator, known as apex, that other animals do not dare cross. Even large cats like bobcats have been said to avoid this stuff.
The proof, however, is in the pee.
Use this wolf pee along the borders of your fences and any other property lines and watch the coyotes dwindle (along with some other animals, too.)
Coyotes Hate Bright Lights At Night
The power of a few bright lights, like a little extra noise, should not be underestimated. Luckily for us all, coyotes spook at this sudden stimulation, as well.
Invest in some solar predator control lights like this Univerayo Coyote Deterrent that, again, works to help prevent other species from entering your backyard and getting too cozy.
These lights have been used to repel everything from raccoons and skunks to deer and even foxes.
Not only do these bright lights turn on using motion sensor technology, but they also simulate predator eyes so that, in the night, any sneaky creatures trying to get into your yard will quickly think against it.
Long Term Solution: Keep Coyotes Away With Property Changes
We know now that coyotes really are afraid of a lot. As intimidating as they may be under certain circumstances, these really are wise creatures without a lot of malicious intent. Their nature can lead them to be aggressive in their search for food and resources, but use this knowledge that you now have to avoid any conflicts with these clever canines.
Still, the best way to ensure that coyotes don’t get close enough to become attached, cause problems, or simply hang around your area is to change a few simple at-home habits.
Keep Pet Food Inside
Aside from small animals, pets included (yikes), coyotes are known to go straight for any pet food that is left out.
Hey, you would take a quick meal once in a while, too, right?
If possible, keep your pet food inside. That doesn’t have to mean your living room, though. You can keep your pet food inside a garage if you’ve got one, a mudroom if you prefer, a shed, and any number of other locations around your property that isn’t explicitly outdoors.
Place Trash Out Closer To The Pickup Time
When you think of wild animals getting into your garbage, what comes to mind?
Raccoons, squirrels, stray cats, so why not dogs? Coyotes are just big canines that like to cause mischief, too. They have been known to get into garbage bins in urban areas (and in more nature-based spaces, as well) when the trash is taken out a little too early.
This is a pretty basic problem to solve. Just don’t take your trash out the night before garbage day. Get up a few minutes earlier in the morning and save yourself from wondering whether or not you’ll find your garbage bin all in one piece in the morning.
This saves you from stress and makes coyotes less likely to come around your property for food-based reasons.
We advise you to start this right away, especially if there are coyotes that have been sighted in your immediate area. Even if they aren’t super close, you’ll want to take some preventative measures as those are the most certain ways to avoid any sort of coyote conflict.
An added bonus, this method will help keep away other creatures like the raccoons and rodents that we associate with dumpster diving, as well as wasps, ants, and other insects.
NEVER (And We Mean Never) Feed Coyotes
Not only is this a HUGE no-no, but it is also unlawful to intentionally bait and feed coyotes and many other wild mammals. Giving food away can disrupt their natural patterns, affect their instincts in the wild, and cause an attachment that neither of you wants to have.
That’s it; there really isn’t much to say about this one. Just DON’T feed wild animals. Now, make that your mantra.
I will not feed the wild animals. Even if they are cute.
Yes, good! Let’s keep on going.
Scare Coyotes Away Using Deterrents
Don’t forget that, above all else, coyotes are jumpy creatures that won’t want much to do with you, realistically.
Unfortunately, this cannot be said for all coyotes in 100% of cases, but we don’t want to make you overly afraid of these animals either.
Use the information you now have about what scares them off, how to react when you see a coyote, and some other common deterrents to make sure that you are feeling as safe as possible in your own backyard (literally speaking, of course!)
Coyotes Near? Never Fear!
So, for now, that’s all we’ve got for you.
If you stuck around this long, congratulations! We hope that this helps you to live peacefully among these creatures.
Remember that coyotes are highly intelligent animals and will likely not be aggressive to you unless they have somehow been exposed to other humans enough to get too comfortable.
It may be intimidating to have coyote-related concerns at home, but remember these things that they are afraid of and utilize them to make sure that they don’t get too close for comfort.
- Moving Objects
- Loud Noises
- Urine of Predators
- Bright Lights
Again, if anything feels concerning to you about your coyote situation, please remember to reach out to a trained professional in your area.
Thank you for taking the time to read this piece!
Wishing you the best of luck, and use of your own newfound intelligence, in keeping these wiley canines at arm’s length and away from your space.
Elliot, E. E., Vallance, S., & Molles, L. E. (2016). Coexisting with coyotes (Canis latrans) in an urban environment. Urban ecosystems, 19(3), 1335-1350.
Baker, R. O, & Timm, R. M. (1998). Management of conflicts between urban coyotes and humans in Southern California. Proceedings of the Vertebrate Pest Conference, 18. http://dx.doi.org/10.5070/V418110164
Loven, J. E. (1995, April). Coyotes in urban areas: a status report. In Symposium Proceedings–Coyotes in the Southwest: A Compendium of Our Knowledge (1995) (p. 25).
Zack is a Nature & Wildlife specialist based in Upstate, NY, and is the founder of his Tree Journey and Pest Pointers brands. He has a vast experience with nature while living and growing up on 50+ acres of fields, woodlands, and a freshwater bass pond. Zack has encountered many pest situations over the years and has spent his time maintaining and planting over 35 species of trees since his youth with his family on their property.
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