Human-Wildlife Conflicts: Coyotes

coyote standing in field

Coyotes (Canis latrans) are native to California and can be seen in diverse habitats, including rural, residential, and urban areas. They are highly intelligent, social, and adaptive. They generally live in family groups and establish home range territories to hunt and raise their pups.

Coyotes may be heard calling to each other (yips, howls, barks) any time of day or night. They have the most diverse range of vocalizations of any mammal in North America, and Native Americans called them "song dogs".

Coyotes provide many ecosystem benefits, such as controlling rodent and other small mammal populations. They will consume nearly anything, including rodents, rabbits, birds and eggs, reptiles, fruits, and plants, as well as pet food, human food, and trash. Potential conflict with coyotes may occur due to property damage, loss of pets or small livestock, or human health and safety concerns if a coyote loses its natural fear of humans.

Prevent Potential Conflicts

Preventing Conflicts

Whether you live in an urban, residential, rural or remote area of California, wild animals are our neighbors. As our human population expands into wildlife habitat, human-wildlife interactions have increased. Most wild animals, including coyotes, naturally avoid or fear humans. Coyotes are at increased risk of becoming food conditioned or habituated due to increased access to non-natural food sources. Some people do not realize the harm in feeding wild animals or preventing access to attractants.


Outdoor Safety Tips

Be Coyote Smart

  • Do not leave small pets unsupervised outside—bring pets inside at night.
  • Leash pets while walking. Use a whistle or other noisemaker to deter coyotes.
  • Remove access to attractants—place trash, recycling, and pet food in secure bins.
  • Keep small livestock and poultry in secure pens at night. Install electric fencing when possible.
  • Keep bird feeders clean—remove fallen or scattered seed that may attract rodents or other small animals.

If You Encounter a Coyote - And it Approaches

  • Keep a safe distance. Back away slowly.
  • Keep small children and pets close to you.
  • Make loud noise—yell, clap, blow a whistle.
  • Make yourself look bigger (e.g. wave your arms)
  • Let the coyote leave the immediate area on its own.
  • If a coyote makes contact, fight back! Then call Animal Control or 9-1-1.

Additional Resources

Wildlife Health Lab
1701 Nimbus Road Suite D, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670
(916) 358-2790 |