Coyotes are very clever and adaptable animals. They are found all across North America in the country side and in most large cities, including Arlington. They are opportunistic eaters and hunt rodents, rabbits, frogs and fish. They will also eat insects, fruit, grass, garbage and carrion. Because they sometimes will kill livestock or pets, many people consider them destructive pests. Coyote attacks on people are extremely rare. Most of the few coyote bites that happen nationally are related to humans feeding the animals.
Coyotes are generally afraid of people, but it is not unusual to see a coyote out during the day as they will search for food, or search for another sleeping location, if spooked. There are instances where coyotes exhibit a brazenness that may alarm people. This does not necessarily mean the animal is sick. Many coyotes in urban environments have become habituated to humans because they associate humans with food sources. Many people intentionally or unintentionally feed the animals by either leaving out unsecured trash, pet food outside, or by not limiting feed at bird feeders. People can help the coyote by making them wary of humans by using negative reinforcement. To do this, make a loud, scary noise by yelling, clapping, banging pot lids or using an air horn. You can also yell and throw rocks at the coyotes to get them to run away.
Coyotes are much smaller than wolves and communicate with a distinctive call, which at night often develops into quite a chorus. To get more information about the Urban Coyote, please follow the links below.
Reference sources: 911 Wildlife and Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
More About Coyotes
The Humane Society of the United States website
- Why Killing Coyotes Does Not Work
- Preventing Coyote Conflicts
- Changing Coyote Behavior through Hazing
- What to Do about Coyotes
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
The Fund for Animals
Coyotes live alone or in breeding pairs where the local food supply is small animals but can live in packs of three to eight members where large prey is abundant.
They are an opportunistic predator but small mammals such as rabbits and mice make up the bulk of their diet. Coyotes track prey using an excellent sense of smell and can stalk its prey for 15 minutes or more. It has great stamina to chase prey until the prey is exhausted and then it will pounce. Coyotes are very intelligent.
The coyote is a digitigrade which means it walks with only its toes touching the ground. Coyotes have 12 vocalizations which they use to communicate with each other. Coyotes generally mate for life in January through late March and will give birth to one to nineteen pups, though the average litter size is six. Both parents participate in raising the young.
The coyote is one of the fastest mammals in North America reaching speeds of 38 mph. Many Native Americans believe the coyote is a maker of fateful decisions with the power to transform beings and objects. While most animals are under threat due to habitat loss the coyote is expanding due to its ability to adapt.