As winter approaches, we begin to hear and see coyotes in parks, on sidewalks and even in the street. People are sharing social media photos and stories about their encounters with these opportunistic predators. While coyotes are year-round residents, the mating season typically peaks in late February and early March. That’s when male coyotes become aggressive and may pose a greater threat to pets, according to many sources.
Coyotes are able to thrive in cities and suburbs because they have adapted to our landscapes. Urban areas offer lots of rodents, berries and other food for them to eat. There are also plenty of places for them to den, hide and rest. Coyotes are usually fearful of humans but they are more active and travel farther in search of food during mating season and after the birth of their pups. As a result, sightings increase and coyotes are more likely to interact with pets or humans.
Females go into estrus just once a year and are receptive to males for 10 days. If a male tries to breed her before she’s ready, she will fight and threaten him. She will growl, bark and whimper, showing her dagger-like teeth. “Fuhggedaboudit,” she will say!
While it’s rare for a coyote to attack a pet, the breeding season is a good time to remember to keep dogs leashed and close to you. And don’t feed coyotes or leave food out for them — doing so will only make them more bold and confident around humans.