Coyotes are common in rural and urban areas throughout
Arizona. Coyotes tend to travel and hunt alone or
in pairs, but they can form groups where food is
Description and Habits
- Usually gray with a rusty
color on neck and flanks
- Black patches on base
and tip of tail help distinguish from dogs
- 20-30 pounds
- 18-21 inches tall
- 42-50 inches long
- Average litter of 4 to
- Run as fast as 40 miles
- Diet includes fruits and
vegetables, pet food, small wild and domestic
animals, snakes and lizards, and garbage
with Humans and Pets
Coyotes are curious, clever, and adaptable. They quickly learn to take advantage of any newly discovered food source, and are often attracted to yards with abundant fruit and wildlife to eat. Coyotes will eat pet food and knock over unsecured garbage cans, or may walk along the tops of walls around homes in search of unattended dogs and cats to eat. Coyotes may consider large or loud dogs to be a threat to their territory and become aggressive toward those dogs. Coyotes have lured free-roaming dogs away from their owners to attack, and bold coyotes may attack small dogs on retractable leashes.
What Attracts Them?
Coyotes may visit a
home if they find food, water, or shelter there.
- Food can include unattended
pets, birds or rodents attracted to bird
feeders, pet food, garbage, or fallen fruit.
- Water sources can include
a pet’s water bowl or a swimming pool.
- Shelter can include a
storm drain or any cave-like area beneath
a shed or unused building.
If you see a coyote near your home, don’t
ignore it. This may cause it to lose its natural
fear of people, which can eventually lead to
To discourage a
- Make loud noises.
- Shout and bang pots and
pans or rattle empty soda cans with pebbles
in it (coyote shaker).
- Wave your hands or objects
like sticks and brooms.
- Throw small stones or
- Spray the coyote with
- Use a commercial repellent
like Mace, if necessary, on bold animals
that refuse to leave.
In an emergency: If
a coyote is aggressive, approaching a person, biting,
or growling and snarling unprovoked, then:
- Continue and exaggerate
the above actions.
- Don’t turn away
or run because the animal may view it as
an opportunity to chase.
- Keep eye contact.
- Move toward other people,
a building, or an area of activity.
- Call your local
Arizona Game and Fish Department office (8
a.m.-5 p.m., Mon. -Fri. excluding holidays).
Also, call Game and Fish if severe property
damage has occurred or if there is possession
of a live coyote. After hours and weekends,
a radio dispatcher is available at (623) 236-7201.
Remember, removal is usually a last resort:
will keep coming back to the same area if attractants are not removed. Coyotes
become a problem
where the guidelines listed below are followed. Homeowners may trap and relocate
coyotes, but must contact the Arizona Game and Fish Department for an appropriate
location before transporting the animal. Homeowners can also hire a wildlife
control business to capture and remove coyotes for a fee.
To prevent further
- Remove anything outside
your home that may be attracting coyotes.
This includes garbage, pet food, water sources,
and bird feeders that can attract rodents
and birds for coyotes to eat.
- Never feed coyotes.
- Encourage your neighbors
not to feed coyotes or leave anything out
that might attract the animals.
- Feed your pets inside,
and never leave them unattended, especially
at dusk and dawn when coyotes are most active.
If it's necessary to leave a small pet outside
unattended, keep it in a sturdy enclosure
with a roof.
- Keep poultry, rabbits,
and rodents in secure enclosures.
- Trim and remove any ground-level
shrubs and branches that provide hiding places
or den sites for coyotes or their prey.
- Secure garbage containers
and eliminate odors by cleaning trashcans
with a 10 percent chlorine bleach solution.
Put out trash containers on the morning of
pickup, not the night before.
- Look for products
that can be used as helpful animal deterrents.
Possible Health Concerns
Rabies – Symptoms
of this disease include foaming at the mouth,
erratic or hyperactive behavior,
fearful, paralyzed, or lethargic behavior. Call
911 or your closest Arizona Game and Fish Department
office immediately if you see any animal with
Anyone bitten by a coyote
must immediately seek medical attention from
a qualified health care provider. Whenever
possible, the animal should be captured or
killed and sent to a laboratory for rabies
Canine distemper – This
viral disease consists of fever, eye and nose
discharge, loss of appetite, and coughing.
It can be transmitted to and from dogs through
bodily fluids. Symptoms can appear similar
to those of
Canine heartworm – Coyotes
can serve as carriers of this type of heartworm,
spread among dogs by mosquitoes.
Mange mite – Coyotes
may be a host for the itch or mange mite. Female
mites can burrow
into the skin. Coyotes with mange can lose
their hair, which can make it difficult for
control their body temperatures. Mange must
be extremely severe before it disables a coyote.
Most coyotes can survive with the disease for
a long time.
Tapeworm – Coyotes
can carry dog tapeworm, which can cause hydatid
cyst disease in humans.
- Coyotes are classified as predators and have
an open, year-round hunting season. A valid
license is required, except in a case where
livestock has been killed. See Arizona Game
and Fish Department Hunting Regulations.
- State law bans firing a gun within a quarter-mile
of an occupied residence or building while
taking wildlife, unless you have the owner's
- Check your local city ordinances, but most
ban shooting firearms within city limits. Some
cities ban using slingshots, BB guns, air guns
- Refer to ARS-17-239 on wildlife depredation
and Arizona Game and Fish Department Hunting Regulations for more information.