Coyotes are perhaps the most adaptable animal in nature. They are most at home in places like the desert, mountains and plains of nearly every continent except for the Arctic and the Antarctic. They are right at home or can adapt to just about any situation and habitat. The Coyote prefers an area with brush and trees, where they can dig a den to sleep away from the elements. They like the brush and trees for shelter, and cover allowing them to more easily stalk their prey. This type of area also provides cooler areas to rest and shelter from the strong sun, or rainy or very cold weather. The Coyote is an omnivore, eating just about anything from rabbits, mice, as well s squirrels and insects. They also eat grains, berries, and edible vegetation, as well.
Coyotes are also fully able to adapt to living in man’s domain, whether in rural areas, or in the city. They have no problem killing and eating cats and chickens, as well as dogs that are small enough for them to kill.
In southern California, Coyotes are very bold, coming into residential areas to carry off neighborhood cats and dogs. They are very adept at teasing dogs, yipping and calling to them, even from the middle of the street, to get them to leave the safety of their fenced areas, and give chase. They will then lead the dogs away to a place far enough away so they cannot escape to the relative safety of their own fenced in yard again. They will hunt alone or in a group, (pack) outnumbering the dog(s). Once the kill is over, they begin their well known yipping, which alerts the other local Coyotes that there has been a kill.
While the Coyote is more likely to kill a male dog, or one that is altered, they will most certainly kill older dogs that are very close to their own size. Many people lose their family pets to these intelligent predators, including some pets that are in an enclosed back yard that may not be as secure as the owner may think. Coyotes will mate with a female dog in season, or kill her is she is not ready to breed. I suppose you could say they are also cannibals since the will even eat other canines.
In one southern California neighborhood, a resident who was rather new to living at the base of the mountains of the Cleveland National Forest had purchased a lovely home with the rear yard nearly fully enclosed. Unbeknownst to her, the property on one side of hers had a slope that came to within about four feet of the top of her block wall. She had one of her Pomeranian dogs out for its morning run. As she was about to go back inside, she thought she heard what sounded like a small whimper. Just that quick, her dog vanished. She never even saw the Coyote that took her dog, and she was right there in the yard. The Coyote had apparently gotten in over the wall by climbing the slope, and jumping into the yard. It escaped by getting through a small opening in the side yard, which the new resident did not even realize was there.
A few months later, she went out her front door, and her Chihuahua managed to run out as well. She was unable to stop it Her Chihuahua was never again seen. This woman has since gotten a Pit Bull, which she hopes will be able to defend itself if necessary.
There is also an older gentleman who lives near the same place, who had been caring for several stray cats. He was feeding approximately thirty of them, and they were all spayed or neutered, as well. Since there were so many cats, it was no possible to keep them all inside. They were allowed to come and go at will though an opening in the screen in the living room. In just over one year, the same coyote has carried off more than twenty-five cats.
This particular Coyote is about the size of a German Shepherd. It may well be half Coyote and half German Shepherd.
This area in particular occasionally even has had Mountain Lions also wandering into the previously wild west, though these areas have been inhabited for more than one hundred years. Many of the houses in this neighborhood have been there for more than forty years.
Since the early 1980s many more people have moved in from the surrounding counties to the area known for prices being more within reason for many. The population has multiplied some five to fifteen times depending on city in which they have chosen to live.
It is not unusual for a Coyote to kill its prey without any noticeable noises. When a Coyote hunts, it enters the hunting grounds from downwind, so as not to alert possible victims. It will go right up to the front of the homes, and if it happens to catch a cat of kitten off guard, it quickly grabs it by the back of the neck or back near the shoulder area, breaking it’s back, quickly dispatching of its dinner.Seldom will you find any sign of a real fight, or any blood, it’s that fast, and efficient at the work at hand.
The Coyote is not so inclined to attack a human, but is not out of the realm of possibility. There have been people riding horses along a mountain road, with cliffs above, and several Coyotes were actually stalking them, while they were on horseback.
There also can be pack s of stray dogs that will definitely attack even a group of horses with their riders aboard. Some of these are events of which the writer has first hand knowledge, or had seen these events personally.
It is essential that one NEVER leave anything that may attract either stray dogs, or Coyotes. A hungry animal that must provide for itself can be very dangerous. There are so many reports of wild animals going into residential areas in many neighborhoods built near, or even not so near a rural or mountainous region that one must educate themselves about what would be proper procedure in case a wild animal of any type were to visit your neighborhood.
Do not plan on any public entity coming to your rescue. The people in the neighborhood with the Coyote problem mentioned herein, called everyone from local Animal Control, the Sheriff’s Department, and the Parks Department, and well as the Department of Fish and Game, and they all said there are just too many calls and too many of the Coyotes for them to be able to manage.
Do some research, and get all the information you can, and just remember you are living in their back yard.