The quick answer is no unless you are a coyote pup or an old, injured coyote. Adult coyotes, which are quite territorial and mate for life, almost never attack humans. However, they might view you as a threat to their territory or pups if you come too close to their den or try to feed them. In that case, they may defend themselves aggressively and may even chase you away from the area. Nevertheless, adult coyotes almost never attack humans. If one does attack you, it’s almost always because you have provoked it in some way — either by coming too close to its den or young pups (adult coyotes won’t attack adults of their own kind), feeding it deliberately, or going after its prey. Even so, adult coyotes are much smaller and less aggressive than wolves; attacks on humans are extremely rare.
Will Coyotes Attack Humans?
Yes, coyotes have been known to attack humans. Most of the time, these attacks are unprovoked and occur when the person is alone. However, there have also been cases where coyotes have attacked people who were with their pets or small children. If you come across a coyote, make yourself as big as possible and yell aggressively at it. If that doesn’t work, throw rocks or sticks at it until it leaves.
What Should I Do If A Coyote Attacks Me?
- Don’t run. Coyotes do not chase humans in order to kill them; they chase people to frighten them away from their territory.
- Don’t yell or scream, because that just makes the coyote more aggressive than it already is. Instead, shout: “Coyote! Coyote!”
- If you can, try to run away from the coyote while it’s still focused on you. If it has pups with it, you should also try to get as far away from them as possible.
- Don’t turn around to look for help unless the coyote lets you go!
- Don’t play dead or make any other threatening gestures (like waving your arms). Coyotes are opportunists; they attack whatever is easy and convenient for them to grab — including people who are playing dead or making threatening gestures.
- If the coyote attacks you, fight back aggressively! Try to bite its neck, grab it by the throat and shake it off if you can; kick its legs out from under it if possible. You can also use a stick or a rock as a weapon if you have one handy (don’t be surprised if the coyote actually wants that too). If all else fails, fight back aggressively with your bare hands.
- Don’t run away from coyotes if you can help it! Coyotes are athletic and fast over short distances, and they are accustomed to chasing fleeing prey. If you run away, they will probably chase you down. Coyotes do not stop unless they are injured or extremely hungry; if they catch up with you later, they will probably just eat you anyway.
When Can Coyotes Be Dangerous To Humans?
- If you accidentally startle a coyote by shining your flashlight at it and/or coming too close to its den or pups.
- If you are an adult coyote that has lost all fear of humans, especially if you have become very aggressive and may be a danger to the public.
- If you have a young coyote pup and it’s afraid of you.
- If your dog is ever attacked by a coyote, especially if it’s attacked and injured in an area where there are many coyotes, such as near the park borders or in neighborhoods (this is why we recommend keeping your dog on a leash when walking around parks).
- If you’re a coyote who has lost all fear of humans and is roaming around in an area with many people.
- If you’re a coyote that has lost all fear of humans and has become very aggressive toward them.
- If you are driving down the street and see a coyote crossing the road in front of you, even though there is no sidewalk or shoulder it runs right into your vehicle.
Are Coyotes Good Or Bad For The Environment?
- Coyotes are natural scavengers and eat garbage.
- They are also known to help clear out the forest as they move through it, which is not a bad thing for the environment.
- Coyotes also eat about 50% of the voles, rats, and mice in the forests they inhabit, thus keeping those rodent populations in check and preventing them from overrunning the forests.
- Coyotes can also be very beneficial to the environment as they are natural prey for animals like hawks, owls, and eagles.
- Coyotes also keep the population of foxes in check, which is good because foxes have been known to kill livestock and other domestic animals.
- Coyotes are also an important part of the ecosystem because they help control rodent populations, which can be detrimental to the environment if left unchecked.
How To Avoid An Attack From A Coyote
- If you are out for a walk, avoid areas where coyotes are known to live or frequent.
- If you do encounter a coyote on your hike, leave it alone and don’t try to feed it. Leave the area immediately and don’t look back at it.
- If you happen to come across a den of pups, leave them alone; they are too young and small to be threatening.
- If you see a coyote in the distance, keep walking away from it until you can no longer see it; if the coyote follows close behind you, stop and turn around slowly — this will help prevent an attack by making the coyote think that you are not aware of its presence (the coyote will often choose to pass by or go away if it thinks you are unaware). Don’t turn around too quickly; this will only make the coyote more aggressive (it may jump up on the fence or wall to get a better look at you).
- If you come across an injured coyote, leave it alone — it’s likely in pain and may be too weak to defend itself.
- If a coyote approaches you, the best thing to do is stand your ground and make yourself look larger than the coyote by holding your arms out wide, clapping your hands, or making loud noises. Don’t run away from it; this will only make the coyote more aggressive (it may chase you).
Coyotes are fascinating carnivores native to North America, and they are likely to be in your area, whether it be a suburban neighborhood or a wilderness area. Adult coyotes rarely attack humans, but it is important to remain vigilant and keep your distance from them. If you ever encounter a coyote, avoid eye contact, and clapping your hands loudly will help scare it away. You can also throw objects such as rocks or small sticks to scare coyotes away from you. If you are ever attacked by a coyote, run away from it as quickly as you can and notify the authorities if you or someone else is injured.