Urban coyote

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File:Coyote in Lincoln Park.jpg
A coyote in Chicago's Lincoln Park, 2011

Urban coyotes are coyotes living in metropolitan areas such as cities and suburbs. Coyotes thrive in suburban settings and even some urban ones, because of the availability of food and the lack of predators.[1][2] One report described them as "thriving" in U.S. cities,[3] and a 2013 report in The Economist suggested that urban coyotes were increasingly living in cities and suburbs in the United States.[4]

Adaptations to urban environments

Wildlife ecologists at Ohio State University studied coyotes taking over in Chicago over a seven-year period (2000–2007) and found that coyotes have adapted well to living in densely populated urban environments while avoiding contact with humans. They found that urban coyotes tend to live longer than their rural counterparts, kill rodents and small pets, and live anywhere from parks to industrial areas. The researchers estimated that there are up to 2,000 coyotes living in the greater Chicago area and that this circumstance may well apply to many other urban areas in North America.[5] In Washington, D.C.'s Rock Creek Park, coyotes den and raise their young, scavenge roadkill, and hunt rodents. "I don't see it as a bad thing for a park," the assigned National Park Service biologist told a reporter for Smithsonian Magazine. "I see it as good for keeping animal populations in control, like the squirrels and the mice."[6]

Unlike rural coyotes, urban ones have a longer lifespan and tend to live in higher densities, but rarely attack humans or pets, according to one report. The animals generally are nocturnal and prey upon "rabbits, rats, Canada geese, fruit, insects and family pets" including dogs.[7] Coyotes were reportedly living underneath decks in suburban Stamford, Connecticut and in some instances chasing after large dogs.[8] Coyotes can be attracted to food left out for birds, or prey upon stray cats, and tend to live between apartment buildings and in industrial parks. Coyotes tend to be opportunistic and clever, according to one view. One study in Tucson, Arizona found that urban coyotes had similar antibodies and pathogens as coyotes in general, and had a survival rate in the city of 72% for any given year, on average.[9] A study in 2007 suggested that coyotes were "successful in adjusting to an urbanized landscape" with high survival rates, and are frequently in "close proximity" to people. [10] Both studies suggested that a major cause of deaths of urban coyotes was collisions with motorized vehicles.

In August of 2013, numbers were reported to be increasing in Coquitlam as well as a rise in human conflicts.[11]

File:Coyote alert sign 2014-06-15 23-22.jpg
A "coyote alert" sign in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, circa summer 2014

In another testament to the coyote's habitat adaptability, a coyote nicknamed "Hal" made his way to New York City's Central Park in March 2006, wandering about the park for at least two days before being captured by officials. New York's parks commissioner Adrian Benepe noted this coyote had to be very adventurous and curious to get so far into the city.[12] In 2015, there were reports of coyotes howling at night in New York's Central Park.[13] An incident also occurred in April 2007 in the Chicago Loop district, where a coyote, later nicknamed "Adrian", quietly entered a Quizno's restaurant during the lunch hours; it was later captured and released at a wildlife rehabilitation center near Barrington, Illinois.[14][15] In February 2010, up to three coyotes were spotted on the Columbia University campus, and another coyote sighting occurred in Central Park.[16] Up to ten coyotes have also been living and breeding in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.[17]


A researcher studying the impact of coyotes in the city of Austin, Texas found that urban coyote management techniques, including steps to trap and remove coyotes who were exhibiting bold or aggressive behavior, as well as efforts to educate the public about not feeding the animals, had had a positive effect in lessening possible risk to humans or to pets.[18]


  1. Julie Feinstein, Field Guide to Urban Wildlife, 2011, ISBN 0811705854, pp. 86–92.
  2. Stanley D. Gehrt and Seth P. D. Riley, "Coyotes (Canis latrans)" in Urban Carnivores: Ecology, Conflict, and Conservation, Stanley D. Gehrt, Seth P. D. Riley, and Brian L. Cypher eds., JHU Press, 2010, ISBN 0801893895, pp. 79–96.
  3. Phys.org, January 4, 2006, Coyotes thriving in U.S. cities, Accessed March 13, 2013
  4. The Economist, March 9, 2013, Urban coyotes: Dogged persistence -- The coyote is quietly conquering urban America, Accessed March 13, 2013
  5. "Thriving under our noses, stealthily: coyotes" URL accessed on January 9, 2006.
  6. Dell'Amore, Christine. "City Slinkers." Smithsonian 36.12 (2006): 36-38. Academic Search Premier. Web. 4 June 2013.
  7. JOSIE GARTHWAITE, The New York Times, October 24, 2012, Learning to Live With Urban Coyotes, Accessed March 13, 2013
  8. CBS News, March 6, 2015, Coyotes Seen Going After Large Dogs In Stamford, Connecticut, Retrieved March 8, 2015
  9. Morbidity-mortality factors and survival of an urban coyote population in Arizona, M Grinder and PR Krausmanm, Journal of Wildlife Diseases, jwildlifedis April 1, 2001 vol. 37 no. 2 312-317, Accessed March 14, 2013
  10. Stanley D. Gehrt, 12th Wildlife Damage Management Conference (D.L. Nolte, W.M. Arjo, D.H. Stalman, Eds). 2007. ECOLOGY OF COYOTES IN URBAN LANDSCAPES April 2007, Accessed March 14, 2013
  11. http://www.thenownews.com/news/coyote-numbers-up-1.590367
  12. Newman, Maria, and Janon Fisher. "Elusive Coyote Is Captured in Central Park." New York Times March 22, 2006. November 7, 2009.
  13. Lisa Foderaro, MARCH 6, 2015, The New York Times, That Howling? Just New York’s Neighborhood Coyotes, Retrieved March 7, 2015
  14. "And the coyote shall lie down with the SoBes ..." Associated Press. April 4, 2007. Retrieved April 4, 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Meincke, Paul (April 4, 2007). "Coyote captured in Loop to be set free". WLS-TV. Retrieved April 4, 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. » Three Coyotes Spotted on Columbia’s Campus. Myupperwest.com (2010-02-08). Retrieved on May 10, 2011.
  17. "In City Where Dogs Outnumber Children, Finding a Way for Coyotes to Coexist", The New York Times, May 14, 2012<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Proceedings of the 12th Wildlife Damage Management Conference (D.L. Nolte, W.M. Arjo, D.H. Stalman, Eds). 2007; Randy O. Farrar, ASSESSING THE IMPACT OF URBAN COYOTE ON PEOPLE AND PETS IN AUSTIN, TRAVIS COUNTY, TEXAS April 2007, Accessed March 14, 2013

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