Most people think coyotes are only found in rural areas or the country. But believe it or not, there are coyotes right here in the heart of Memphis! Ask any Midtowner who has seen a coyote casually trotting down a side street at dusk. With their neutral coloring, coyotes can hide almost in plain sight during the day - right under your nose!
With triangular ears, a slender muzzle, and a drooping
bushy tail, the coyote often resembles a slender, long-legged German shepherd.
Coyotes are usually a grayish brown with reddish tinges behind the ears
and around the face, but these colors can vary from a silver-gray to almost black.
The tail usually has a black tip. Coyotes have yellow eyes instead of brown eyes
like many domestic dogs. Adult coyotes will weigh around 30 pounds, and some larger males can weigh up to 40 pounds.
Coyotes have a wild, wolfish look to them. If you do see a coyote, give it space and call a wildlife professional immediately! Remember, these are wild animals who will defend themselves if they feel threatened in any way.
The coyote breeding season runs from January to March each year. In the spring, female coyotes build dens in preparation for their young. After about 63 days, the mother coyote will give birth to approximately six puppies.
Both the males and females in a pack participate in taking care of the puppies. The male will bring food to the female and the babies, and help protect them from predators. Coyote puppies are born blind in the den and are totally reliant on their mothers. Their eyes will open after 10 days, and within a month they will begin to emerge from the den. The mothers will teach the puppies to hunt, while the fathers keep watch against predators. The puppies will reach adulthood and sexual maturity within a year of being born, so there is no time to lose in learning to be self sufficient. At the age of one, the males will leave their parents to fight for new territory and mates. The females will typically stay with their parents to continue the size of the pack.
Coyotes typically live for around 5 to 6 years in the wild, and a few may even live up to 12 years. Coyotes can live up to 18 years old in captivity.
A pack is a coyote family dominated by an alpha male and female who form a breeding pair. The alpha female will often keep other females from breeding to ensure that her own pups receive enough food, care and protection. The pack can also include this year’s pups and offspring from the previous year, along with individuals from other packs that have been accepted into the family.
Coyote packs will usually have a home range which is the entire area in which they live, and a territory that they will defend against other coyotes and whose boundaries are marked with urine, just like the way dogs will mark their territory. Coyote packs appear to defend all the area they regularly use, and their territory is often the same size as their home range. As with the size of the pack, the size of the territory will depend on the amount of food available. If the pack relies on a natural diet, its territory will be larger than that of a pack who is being fed regularly by humans. Feeding wild animals of any species is the best way to ensure that these animals will keep coming back to your property as they will see it as a dependable food source.
use sounds to communicate, including yips, barks and howls, as well as
scents and visual signals. The iconic coyote howl is likely used to
announce one pack’s territorial boundaries to other packs. Pack members
will also howl at each other when they reunite.
Coyotes typically hunt alone or in pairs unless they are working together to kill deer. When hunting deer, groups of coyotes can take turns pursuing their prey until it tires, or they may drive the deer toward a hidden member of the pack. Coyotes can reach speeds of up to 40 mph.
Coyotes are most active at dusk, so if you have seen coyotes nearby, please keep your small dogs on a leash when out for a walk. In cities and other urban environments, coyotes have been known to modify their day and night cycle to better avoid humans and traffic.
Just like all wildlife around the Memphis area, coyotes carry a variety of parasites and diseases,
including ticks, fleas, intestinal worms and even heartworms. They may also
be infected with canine distemper, parvovirus and mange. So not only will a coyote kill and eat your small dogs and cats, but they can also transmit these diseases to your pets, which is yet another reason you don't want coyotes around your property.
While coyotes can carry rabies, they do not carry the same strain that raccoons carry. Rabies can be spread through bites and scratches. If you do see a coyote or any wild animal showing uncontrollable salivation, tremors, or odd behavior such as hallucinations, keep away from the animal and contact a wildlife professional immediately. As the virus attacks the central nervous system, the animal may eventually experience paralysis. If you or your pets are scratched or bitten by a potentially rabid coyote, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Rabies is only transmitted through saliva, but dogs that eat coyote or fox feces containing parasite eggs can develop a severe infection called alveolar echinococcosis, or AE. If left untreated, AE can be fatal to dogs.
When it comes to keeping your home and commercial property a bit less "coyote-friendly, removing their access to a food source may help. Coyotes are omnivores, meaning they will eat anything, although they prefer meat.
Do not leave open bowls of cat food or dog food outside. Like most wild animals, when coyotes find a food source they will return for more. If you feed your pets outside, you need to clean up what they don't eat. Also, do not put food scraps in an unsecured, outside garbage can until just before it is to be hauled away. The smell of food will attract all kinds of wildlife, including coyotes.
Homeowners with a garden should put up an electric fence before the crop comes up. If you wait until the plants start to grow, the coyote has already learned there is food available and will keep trying and eventually go under or over the fence. It is easier to keep them from starting a bad habit than it is to change it.
If you have a coyote problem in your area, give Apex Wildlife Control a call today! We are here to help!