Coyotes are well known for their wolf-like appearance and cat-like maneuverability. They are of the canine order, with their closest relatives being the red wolf and the eastern wolf. Coyotes, like wolves, are wild animals known for their brutal show of force when threatened and attacked.
Generally, coyotes maintain peaceful co-existence with humans in the US, Canada, and other parts of North America, where they maintain a dominant population. Still, there have been records of clashes that led to serious human injuries and sometimes much worse outcomes.
Read on to discover if coyotes are dangerous to humans, actively seek humans, and whether coyote-human relationships have gotten better or worsened in recent years.
Do Coyotes Attack Humans?
Coyotes can attack humans, which makes them dangerous. Thankfully, they rarely attack humans without provocation, which is why we have been able to tolerate them around us for this long.
Most adults will never have coyotes encounter if they do not infringe on the animal territory. The same cannot be said for kids, as coyotes find them easy to attack targets.
Coyotes understand that kids are smaller and have been recorded to launch attacks without provocation after straying close to human homes. This is why it is very important for adults not to let kids stray too far if they live near coyotes’ habitat.
Do Coyotes Kill Humans?
Coyotes rarely kill humans. There have only been two recorded cases of coyotes ever killing humans in the United States and Canada.
The first victim was a little girl aged 3 in 1981, while the second victim was a 19-year-old woman who was attacked in Nova Scotia in 2009. While both fatal attacks are separated by many years, it confirms that coyotes can be dangerous to humans.
Since the 1980s, there have been a handful of coyote attacks on humans, with few that could be fatal if another human had not intervened. The reality of coyote attacks shows that coyotes are dangerous and can kill humans in a moment of extreme aggression.
However, it is important to understand that coyotes only mostly show aggression if humans encroach on their territory and they have no other choice. Most attacks have been due to us being mistaken as real threats.
However, several attacks have been due to coyotes straying into the neighborhood and attacking young kids, which is a growing concern.
Do Coyotes Eat People?
Coyotes rarely try to kill humans and will never hunt us for food. Most recorded human deaths caused by coyotes have been due to injuries sustained during the altercation.
Coyotes have never been documented to attack humans for food. However, if coyotes find a human corpse, there is a high chance that they will eat it just like any other food it scavenges. Coyotes eat about anything, and corpses are no exception.
Are Coyotes Scared of Humans?
Coyotes try as much as possible to avoid human-dominated areas. We are bigger than them, making them extremely cautious and less enthusiastic about confronting us. A coyote will often avoid being spotted by an adult human and prefer not to attack.
However, they do not respect kids that much.
A coyote suffering from rabies is extremely bold and does not fear humans as much as it should. It could attack you without provocation because of the virus.
Also, coyotes will lose their fear of humans if we gift them food. They naturally interpret food gifting as a sign of weakness and submission and may start attacking the neighborhood. So never feed a coyote.
Finally, it is important to never advance into coyote territory. You will be perceived as a threat, and these animals’ natural fear will turn to aggression.
Also read: What Eats Coyotes? 9 Predators of Coyotes
How Often Do Coyotes Attack Humans?
Coyote attacks are very rare. These animals are naturally wary of humans and prefer to go on their way than risk injury and possible death from any ill-timed attack.
Since 1977 up till now, coyote attacks have rarely gone past 25 annually. In some cases, there were fewer than 5 attacks annually, and the altercations happened because pet owners were either fighting off coyotes attacking their dogs or cats or provoked the coyotes unnecessarily.
When Are Coyotes Most Dangerous?
Coyotes are often around people throughout the mating season as they are typical urban wildlife. They become a real concern during the mating season, around January to March in North America. During the mating season, male coyotes are very aggressive and can easily attack humans.
During the mating season, it is best to avoid walking through coyotes dominated areas at night as they are quite active after sunset and in the dark.
Coyote Attacks On Humans Statistics
Recorded statistics of coyotes’ attacks on humans prove that the animals are one of the least dangerous canines with territorial behaviors. The fact that coyotes rarely attack humans is the reason why they are allowed to flourish in most neighborhoods.
Early records that compiled coyotes’ attacks right from 1977 to 2015 prove that the animals do not have much interest in fighting with humans. The highest attack trend was recorded in 2010, with 25 cases confirmed globally.
Recently, coyotes have become bolder and are becoming less afraid of humans. This has caused an increase in coyotes-human confrontation. However, the stats still show that coyotes would rather avoid us than start a fight.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Coyotes Attack Humans at Night?
Coyotes might attack a human they encounter at night if they don’t see the latter coming from a distance. This attack is more of a defensive mechanism against perceived threats. Since we generally have a poor sight at night, it is best to avoid coyote-dominated areas at night.
Will Coyotes Attack Humans With Dogs?
Coyotes will attack dogs that can slip out of their owners’ control to start a fight. Dogs mostly overestimate their strength against coyotes, so it is easy for them to try to chase down a coyote when walking with their owners.
While most coyotes may run off, some will fight back and attack the dog owner if they get involved. Authorities advise owners to have their dogs on a short leash when walking past active coyote areas to prevent a possible escalation.
Do Coyotes Attack During The Day?
Coyotes are very active dung the day and may attack humans if they feel threatened. It is best to keep your distance from brushes and forests when walking through a coyote-dominated zone to avoid a confrontation.
What to Do When Encountering A Coyote?
Do not immediately turn and run away if you ever encounter a coyote. Stay calm and back away slowly until you are sure it has no interest in following you. Taking off when you see a coyote will activate its predatory instincts, and it will chase you. Standing your ground makes you the dominant figure, and the animal often prefers not to fight.
What To Do When A Coyote Approaches You?
Stand your ground and angrily shout at it. This technique will often stop it at its track. If it seems keen on getting to you, throw stones and any object near it and not at it. It will naturally run off and let you be.
What To Do If You See A Coyote While Hiking?
Having scare tools when hiking on trails with active coyotes is important. Bear bangs and pebbles will often discourage coyotes from stalking you when hiking. If you see a coyote on the trail, continue your walk while keeping your eyes on it.
It will understand that you have seen it and do not consider it a threat that makes you dominant. It will mostly let you be. If it doesn’t, then use your scare tools. As a last resort, always have a jackknife or a firearm for safety purposes.
Which Is More Dangerous, Coyotes Or Wolves?
Generally, Wolves are much more dangerous than coyotes. They have better bite force, worrying predatory instinct, and less fear of humans. Hazing does not deter wolves as it does with coyotes, highlighting their general lack of fear for humans.
Is A Fox Or Coyote More Dangerous?
Coyotes are generally bigger than a fox, with both animals wary of humans. Foxes often avoid humans much more than coyotes and rarely threaten humans. Foxes may prey on poultry and smaller pets if they are fed by humans and start associating us with food.
How Strong Are Coyotes?
Adult eastern coyotes have an average weight of 30 to 35 pounds, while large males that break the normal weight mark could weigh up to 45 pounds. Adult coyotes have an average bite force of 88 PSI. These stats show that coyotes can be dangerous and should be given their space.