City of West Lafayette, Indiana
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The Coyote is found throughout North America from eastern Alaska to New England and south through Mexico to Panama. It originally ranged primarily in the northwest corner of the US, but it has adapted readily to the changes caused by human occupation, and in the past 200 years, has been steadily extending its range. Sightings now commonly occur in every County in Indiana. Several have been seen in the City of West Lafayette.

There has not been any documented report of an attack on human by a Coyote in the State of Indiana, but there has been numerous reports of small pets being injured or killed by the Coyote. There has been an increase in sightings of Coyotes in Tippecanoe County over the last several years as the Coyotes expand their territory. Coyotes are attracted to urban / suburban areas by the easy accessibility of food, water, and shelter. Reducing or eliminating the availability of these elements will often encourage coyotes to leave. Precautions should be taken if you live in an area were Coyotes have been seen.

1. Do not leave small pets unattended.
2. Do not leave pet food outside.
3. Use trash containers with locking lids.
4. Don't feed Coyotes on your property.
5. Remove excess brush and vegetation from your property.
6. Whenever possible, coyotes should be harassed or scared to condition them to avoid humans.
7. Ripe fruits and vegetables should be covered at night.

The Coyote is one of the few wild animals whose vocalizations are commonly heard. At night Coyotes both howl (a high quavering cry) and emit a series of short, high-pitched yips. Howls are used to keep in touch with other coyotes in the area. Sometimes, when it is first heard, the listener may experience a tingling fear of primitive danger, but to the seasoned outdoorsman, the howl of the Coyote is truly a song of the West.

Coyote Sounds:
Coyote barking
Coyote challenging
Coyote greeting
A coyote pack howling
Long howl

One of the most adaptable animals in the world, the Coyote can change its breeding habits, diet and social dynamics to survive in a wide variety of habitats. Alone, in pairs or in packs, Coyotes maintain their territories by marking them with urine. They also use calls to defend this territory, as well as for strengthening social bonds and general communication.

Coyote Pups
Coyote Pups

Coyotes are not your average dog -- they are not to be messed with. They are smart, and they learn quickly. They can be dangerous, and when it comes to urban coyotes, steps should be taken to avoid encouraging them to visit your neighborhood. That means close garbage can lids tightly, do not leave pet food outside and do not leave small pets outside unaccompanied.

The Coyote is a member of the dog family. In size and shape the Coyote is like a medium-sized Collie dog, but its tail is round and bushy and is carried straight out below the level of its back.

Coyote Vital Statics:
Weight: 15-45 lbs.
Length with tail: 40-60".
Shoulder Height: 15-20".
Sexual Maturity: 1-2 years.
Mating Season: Jan-March.
Gestation Period: 58-65 days.
Birth Interval: 1 year.
Number of Young: 2-12, 6 avg.
Lifespan: 15 years in the wild.
Typical diet: Small mammals, insects, reptiles, fruit & carrion.

Although the Coyote usually digs its own den, it will sometimes enlarge an old badger hole or perhaps fix up a natural hole in a rocky ledge to suit its own needs. Dens are usually hidden from view, but they are fairly easy to locate because of the trails that lead away from the den. The Coyote uses the den to birth its young and to sleep. The Coyote does not hibernate.

Coyote Den
Coyote Den

As humans expand their living areas and coyotes expand their range as well, contact is inevitable. Most of the time, coyotes go out of their way to avoid humans, but they are discovering that humans are a good source for food. Resourceful and adaptable as coyotes are, they will take advantage of this when they can. In urban area and in some National Parks the Coyotes are changing their behavior.

The coyote is capable of producing fertile offspring with many other animals from the dog family. It occasionally breeds with the domestic dog, wild dogs, and wolves. This mixed offspring has created great confusion about whether a real coyote has been seen. The only way to tell the difference is by examination of the skull. The coyotes' skull is narrower and more elongated than the domestic dog. These crossbreeds are known as coydogs.

Coyote / Irish Setter
Coyote / Red Wolf

The most serious problem is that the animals may become habituated to people. As they lose their fear of people, they will become bolder in approaching people and may put themselves in hazardous situations they would normally avoid.


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