The Urban Coyote

Coyotes (Canis latrans) are notoriously adaptable. Today, they can be found throughout North America — including in our very own backyard. These wild canids have found a way to make a living in the ever-growing urban environment. The best part about it is, it’s not really all that bad of news! These wild neighbors help keep rodent, goose, and deer populations in check and their presence even benefits songbirds by helping to control feral cat populations.

But coyotes have had to change some of their ways in order to live safely amongst people. Normally active during the day and at dawn and dusk, coyotes have adopted a nocturnal lifestyle to avoid detection by humans. However, that’s not to say that coyotes won’t still move around during the day if necessary.

The urban coyote is a sly one. Believe it or not, they can be incredibly hard to find! Preferring forested areas like parks, they easily slip under our radar. They are quite clever when it comes to hiding their dens, too! Coyotes have multiple dens and will often move from one to the next. In the urban environment, they may be found in storm drains, under sheds, in culverts, and even abandoned houses. Since coyotes like to avoid people at all costs, if a person should stumble upon a den, the coyote family will not likely return.

The best way to avoid an encounter with a coyote is simple:  don’t feed them! If there isn’t food or prey nearby, a coyote will not stick around!

Denise Peterson

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