Urban coyotes: More are choosing to live life in the fast lane

I left my coyote in San Francisco: More and more coyotes are finding urban areas a great place to live. Food is abundant be it from small animals living in parks and golf courses, people's garbage or unsuspecting pet animals.
I left my coyote in San Francisco: More and more coyotes are finding urban areas a great place to live. Food is abundant be it from small animals living in parks and golf courses, people's garbage or unsuspecting pet animals.Courtesy stubbornbeauty
Do you remember that cute news story from about a year ago where a coyote was found sitting inside a Subway restaurant in Chicago? While coyotes may not make up a huge portion of Subway’s clientele, thier numbers are growing in urban centers. Many Science Museum visitors have shared stories of seeing coyotes in their neighborhoods. Researchers from Ohio State University have studied the coyote population in Chicago for several years and estimate that there could be up to 2,000 coyotes living there. Nationwide, one estimate figures there are 1 million coyotes living in urban areas.

Why would coyotes want to live in the city?

Of course, it’s all about shopping and convenience. Coyotes have been very adaptable through their evolution and moving into cities has probably made their lives even easier. Food is plentiful by poking through people’s garbage, eating from pet food containers that are outside and being able to find small animals easier. Golf courses, cemeteries and parks are prime coyote hangouts as small animals thrive in the habits that receive regular watering and nutrients. If the small animals are there, larger predators like coyotes will find them sooner or later. There are upsides and downsides to this. Parks with problem geese like coyotes to come through and reduce their numbers and coyotes have also been known to help reduce city deer populations. Pet owners, on the other hand, are not happy when coyotes decide to make a meal out of Fluffy or Fido.

Is there a coyote in your neighborhood?

There are a few easy ways to know if a coyote is living around you. Listen at night. Urban coyotes will still howl like their country cousins. Coyote tracks can be seen in snow or dirt. They’re smaller than wolf tracks. And coyotes leave behind little piles of souvenirs of their meals in the form of scat.

What should you do if coyotes lives near you?
• Don’t feed them or make food gathering easier. Secure your garbage cans, don’t leave pet food out at night, keep small pets attended outside (especially at night).
• The more you encourage small animals – like birds or rodents -- to be in your environment, the more you’ll do to attract coyotes to come hunting for them.
• Wild coyotes are naturally fearful of humans, but the more they’re around us, the less fear they have. Don’t do anything to encourage coyotes to feel comfortable with humans.

Of course, if you really want to get a coyote out of your neighborhood, why not bring in a roadrunner. It works all the time in cartoons, right?

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

zephyr's picture
zephyr says:

this would b sweet........ i would love to eat subway with a coyote... i also would love to have one as a pet

posted on Thu, 04/24/2008 - 8:32am
andyshadexx's picture
andyshadexx says:

Oh wow i didn't know that the coyotes population would increase that fast. Well i guess it a good thing that they have adapted to urban areas

posted on Thu, 04/24/2008 - 8:37am
bert123's picture
bert123 says:

If i where a coyote i would so want to live the city life i mean come on now there is subway and hot chick coyotes. so would the lifestyles between a city coyote and a country coyote be different?
IBI Call it what you want IBI

posted on Thu, 04/24/2008 - 8:43am
Looney_Tooney's picture
Looney_Tooney says:

I saw a coyote before...
Oh wait, it was a fox, my bad...

U Kno Wat Im Sayin!!!

posted on Thu, 04/24/2008 - 8:45am
LEE's picture
LEE says:

ha ha ha a roadrunner. wasn't he like a ostric or something? probably spelled that wrong.

posted on Thu, 04/24/2008 - 8:50am
shanee's picture
shanee says:

yeah thats really interesting that coyotes are not scared to just live their everyday life around humans.! wow!

posted on Thu, 04/24/2008 - 8:57am
Kunicki24's picture
Kunicki24 says:

didn't know the coyote population was so big... Kinda feel bad for them there natrual homes are virtually being taken away from them... And i would personally not wanna meet a coyote in a dark alley some night...

posted on Wed, 04/30/2008 - 8:49am
Thor's picture
Thor says:

Actually, their natural homes are not being taken from them. They're just finding that it's a lot easier to live in cities with abundant food supplies.

posted on Wed, 04/30/2008 - 8:52am
Thor's picture
Thor says:

It's not just coyotes moving to the city. Here's an article about an influx of grizzly bears living in the heart of Anchorage, Alaska.

posted on Wed, 04/30/2008 - 1:13pm
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

I got about the same reaction when I moved to the city.

My neighbors constantly avoided me, and I kept waking up in state parks, smelling like ether.

Apparently you only have to eat out of the neighborhood trashcans a couple times before people start calling you a "nuisance species."

posted on Wed, 04/30/2008 - 1:30pm
Thor's picture
Thor says:

You know what really bothers me about city garbage cruisers? It's the people who come and dump their garbage in your garbage cans or dumpster because they're too cheap to buy garbage service themselves. They're much more of a "nuisance species" than those creatures who eat urban garbage.

posted on Wed, 04/30/2008 - 1:56pm
Amanda's picture
Amanda says:

okay coyotes living in the cities then why are thye complaing about the wilderness when they are trying to live in the citie where food and shelter are to be more likley found

posted on Thu, 05/01/2008 - 9:03am
tiffany_88's picture
tiffany_88 says:

I can't image wolfs live in the city, the wolfs are animals wild and they live in the environment far to the community.

posted on Fri, 05/02/2008 - 8:45am
nelson.robin's picture
nelson.robin says:

i think that is tight man if i would have walked into subway and seen a coyote sitting in the seat i would have went crazy lol

posted on Mon, 05/05/2008 - 7:43am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I have seen a coyote in my back yard. :)

posted on Sun, 03/29/2009 - 9:49am
Sherwin123's picture
Sherwin123 says:

Aside from coyotes, stray dogs also cause a lot of problems. Haphazard urban planning and human overpopulation have led to a correspondingly huge population of stray dogs in most cities, especially India. They are usually unclean and unhealthy dogs, most possessing dog and feline tumour.

posted on Tue, 12/13/2011 - 3:37am

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