At first glance, coyotes don’t look as dangerous as their relatives, the gray wolf. They are wary of humans and are more likely to run away than attack.
However, statistics have shown that this wild dog shouldn’t be underestimated. Though deaths are rare, other problems can come from a coyote bite.1
This is why you need to know how to survive a coyote attack or, even better, avoid an encounter with them, especially if you’re a frequent hiker and camper.
This animal is also widespread across America, making it more likely for you to encounter one.
While coyotes are wary of humans, we should also be wary of them. Besides the medical problems we may face from getting bit, they are also dangerous to children, pets, and elderly ones.
So what would be your next line of action if you find yourself being attacked by a coyote?
Read on to discover insights on how to deal with coyotes in the wild and ways to keep them away from your environment and family.
Coyotes: An Overview
The coyote is a canid, a member of the dog family. It is a relative of the wolf, and it is a native of North America, the only place it can be found.
It specifically lives in the United States, Canada, and even Mexico. Coyotes used to be limited to habitats like grasslands but have since spread and can even be found in cities.
Coyotes are omnivores, feeding both on animals and plants. Humans are too big for them to consider us prey.
But given the closeness that now exists between both groups, the natural wariness coyotes had towards humans has reduced. This has its negative implications, as we’ll see next.
Are Coyotes Dangerous?
Humans are perhaps more dangerous to coyotes than they are to us, but we should remember that as wild animals, they have the potential to be aggressive.
This is especially true if the coyote is rabid, as it’ll be uncontrollable and eager to attack.
As we’ve already pointed out, the proximity of these animals to humans creates more risk.
In the United States, you’re more likely to meet a coyote than you would a gray wolf.
This becomes very problematic if you have a child or a pet around.
While getting bit by a coyote may not kill you, it can lead to health issues. Besides rabies and other diseases like distemper, they also carry mites, fleas, ticks, and worms.
How to Survive A Coyote Attack – Safety Tips
Though the likelihood of encountering a coyote is more than that of a gray wolf, encounters are still rare.
Coyotes are nocturnal and would hardly be found during the day when humans are busier.
That said, with the bolder or rabid coyotes, here are some tips for surviving a coyote attack:
1. Do not approach a coyote in the wild
Coyotes are already wary of people, so approaching them in the wild puts them in a tough spot.
They usually won’t attack, but if you get too close, you become more of a threat to them.
As long as it doesn’t come close, you can ignore it and go on with your activities.
2. Make yourself look big and imposing
Coyotes are smaller than humans, so this step is easy to implement. Flail your arms and look intimidating to the animal, an act known as hazing.
Shout authoritatively and be confident, holding eye contact with the coyote till it moves away. Give the coyote enough space to escape.
3. Protect children and pets
Because children and pets are more vulnerable to coyotes, you should protect them against any oncoming one.
Keep your children close to you and recall your little dog to your side.
Do note that if your pet is a guard dog, it may be able to defend itself from the coyote.
4. Do not turn your back or run away
When up against a coyote, keep your eyes trained on it. Do not look away or turn your back so it won’t take that as a cue to attack.
Do not run too.
Running can trigger the coyote’s hunting instinct, a trait common amongst canids and many other carnivores.
5. Protect your throat and arteries if the coyote attacks you
Many attacking animals often go after the throat and arteries. The coyote is not an exception.
Bites on the throat and arteries are usually serious, even fatal.
6. Scare the coyote away
Ultimately, your goal should be to scare the coyote away, not kill it. Unless in the form of self-defense, do not inflict fatal harm on the animal.
You can shout or throw sticks and stones to deter it from coming closer.
How to Avoid Coyotes
Unlike many other wild creatures, the coyote is an animal that’s fairly easy to fight and drive off.
Of course, this doesn’t take away the dangers of encountering one. Thus, you should take measures to avoid them.
Here are some suggestions:
- If you live in an area with coyotes, make your environment undesirable for them. You can do this by erecting fences and trimming trees.
- Do not litter your campsite in the woods, as that can attract coyotes to where you are.
Coyotes are widespread across North America, increasing your chances of meeting one.
They can be easily scared off and may even run from you first, but don’t underestimate the danger they pose.
If possible, avoid them.
References & Notes
- Gravvat L. How dangerous are coyotes? Attacks against adults are rare, but kids and pets face risks. USA Today.