Shutterstock: Left is a Grey Wolf, on the right is a Coyote. They have been native to North America from Alaska to Central America from as far back as 2 million years.

By Ruthie DiTucci

You are hearing the call and yelp of a coyote (which will end in a minute). Scientists worldwide have found coyote fossils dating back 2 million years. Unlike other invasive predators, the coyote is not invading North America, the coyote is actually one of the larger predators that is “native” to North America.

Two adults and a four year old child (by the name of Blair) were bitten by a coyote in Mesa, Arizona this week. One of the coyotes that bit the 4-year old was caught and removed by the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Another biting incident occurred in the same area later that day. The grey wolf is the coyote’s only natural predator. Between 1901 through to about 1930, wolves were removed from the Eastern region of the United States in order to establish towns, villages, industries and housing developments.

Coyotes now live everywhere from as high up as all of Alaska, throughout every Canadian province and throughout every state of the United States (except Hawaii) and are present all the way down through to Central America.

In Florida, residents deal with coyotes at any hour of the day or night. Florida coyotes do not hide behind bushes or greenery. At night, they swagger openly in the street. They are seen at an hour of the day.

Coyotes are fascinating creatures that have adapted to living in a multitude of environments. Depending on where they are living, they are primarily nocturnal animals and very efficient hunters but they adapt to their environment very quickly and they “adapt.”

Chicago Coyotes are known for their nightly serenades of yaps and howls.

In the Chicago metropolitan area, coyotes appear to confine most of their activity to nocturnal hours, whereas in natural areas, coyotes tend to be diurnal (active during the day) or crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk). In Florida regions, coyotes are seen during both day and night, any time is eating time. 

Coyotes are adaptable animals that can live in a variety of environments, including urban areas. They are opportunistic feeders and will eat almost anything, including small mammals, birds, insects, and even garbage. 

Coyotes are also known to prey on domestic animals such as cats, small dogs and any living, unattended prey (which includes toddlers), so it is important to keep pets and small children indoors or supervised by adults at all times when outside.

Do not expect an 8- or 9-year-old to somehow protect toddlers from coyotes. The coyote is known to attack animals far larger than themselves, and a child would not sway a coyote’s presence or interest.

Coyotes can pose grave danger to humans if the coyote feels threatened or cornered. Most importantly, do not leave small children to play outside by themselves in corrals or play pens. Do not allow yourself to think that small helpless animals or even small children are safe inside chain link fenced yards – they are not. Coyotes jump 6-foot fences easily.

Children up to ten years of age are much too small to defend themselves or anyone else from coyotes and you must always remember that they are wild animals and should be treated with great care and caution.

When you feed feral animals such as stray cats outside near your door, you are feeding and attracting raccoons, opossum, squirrels rats and coyotes. That food you leave out for them merely eases their hunger for a few hours. They are quite capable hunters and find prey easily. Feeding coyote, merely dispels its natural fear of humans which emboldens their bravado all the more.


In 2023, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) campaigned heavily in Pasadena, California demanding that the City Council reject any proposal to kill coyotes. Even though keeping herds healthy by culling the herds when numbers has surpassed the ratio of animals per geographic location (wild animals perpetuate disease when infected ones are not removed from the herd), the PETA members will not accept any possible proposal to eradicate the coyotes in any way. Coyotes are territorial animals and will defend their territory against other coyotes and other animals.

Coyotes are wild animals and cannot be anesthetized and relocated to another area as is done with bear and other wild animals because the coyote is usually born and dies in the same territory. If anesthetized, when they awaken, they are disoriented, fierce and highly dangerous.

Therefore, it is important to learn how to coexist with coyotes and take steps to protect oneself and one’s pets. Here are some tips to protect small dogs, cats, and toddlers from coyotes:

  • Keep pets indoors or supervised when outside.
  • Do not leave pet food outside.
  • Keep garbage cans securely closed.
  • Keep small children close and supervise every minute while they are playing outside.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that you and your pets stay safe while living in areas where coyotes are present and as of December of 2023, they are present throughout every single state in the USA.