Coyotes are an important part of the ecosystem and can be seen in most areas. They hunt rodents, berries and other food, helping control populations and providing a service to the community. Their adaptable nature has enabled them to thrive in urban and suburban communities. They can be seen during the day, especially when hunting or in search of food. They are opportunistic and will take what they can get, but they prefer human-provided food such as trash, compost, garbage, pet scraps, fruit, and seeds.
Coyote mating season begins in late December and runs through February with the peak of breeding occurring in March. While attacks on pets are rare, it is possible that the risk of an attack increases during this time. Coyote aggression can also increase when they are protecting their territory, so it is more likely that a large dog perceived as a threat will be attacked by a coyote during mating season.
As the coyote population continues to expand in the urban and suburban landscape, it is important for citizens to learn more about coyotes so they can avoid encounters with them and minimize conflicts. Some common coyote behaviors that are misinterpreted as aggressive include staring at or following people and pets. This is not necessarily an aggressive behavior and it is often a response to humans’ movements, noises or smells. In addition, keeping dogs on leash during this time will give you more control over your pet if an encounter is unavoidable. If you do encounter a coyote, it is important to remain calm and haze the animal by raising your arms to appear bigger and yelling deep and loud to scare them away.