Tucson has a variety of animals that we would like to avoid when walking our dogs. Today we will cover some tips about coyotes.
At different times of day, it is more active for our wildlife friends and wildlife spotting in and around Tucson are not uncommon. At a distance, you may think you saw a lost dog or your dog might even notice the visitor first.
If spotted in the distance, dogs may show body language or bark while entering into a protective mode, letting the coyote know to keep their distance.
Dogs can smell and communicate with wildlife, including coyotes, via howling, barking, whimpering, sniffing, eye contact, and body language. Barking can pique a coyote’s interest, though the sound is more likely to scare a coyote away after they notice a human presence.
Make sure your dog does not chase a coyote. Keeping a large distance between you, your dog, and the coyote helps minimize the potential for confrontation and makes negative interactions more difficult.
First and foremost, remain calm, keep eye contact, and slowly back away while leaving the area. Never run from a coyote, as you may trigger its predatory response and give it a reason to chase you. If you have any personal alarm devices, such as a whistle, bell, or phone alarm, use them to scare the coyote.
Your goal is to deter the coyote from approaching. Standing tall, making yourself look big, waving your arms, and shouting but not screaming while walking in the direction of the coyote until they run away. Use a a whistle, your phone alarm, car alarm, jingling keys, etc. These can all be very effective.
If the coyote continues to approach, back away while facing the coyote and maintaining eye contact. If the coyote displays aggressive behavior, remember to make yourself look big by raising your hands, stomping your feet, shaking your jacket, and making noise while shouting, “Go Away!” Be threatening.
In the rare case that the coyote decides to continue to approach you, throw rocks or sticks in its direction but try not to hit the coyote. Your goal isn’t to injure them, simply to scare them. Sticks, clumps of dirt, or tennis balls work well. Keep in mind that if you are walking with a small dog , pick them up in your arms, giving the coyote less reason to continue to approach.
Coyotes are most active during the hours of sunrise and sunset; be sure to keep your eyes open and be aware of your surroundings.
Coyotes are a part of your urban community and will probably remain that way, so keep your eye out and give them plenty of space.