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Coyote Attacks on Humans, 1970-2015: Implications for Reducing the Risks

By Marcy Wilhelm-South, Rex O. Baker, Robert M. Timm

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Beginning with the emerging pattern of urban and suburban coyotes (Canis latrans) attacking humans in southern California in the late 1970s, we analyzed information from reported attacks to better understand the factors contributing to changes in coyote behavior. We subsequently used updated data collected largely in urban and suburban environments in the United States and Canada during the past 30 years to develop strategies to reduce the risk of attacks. In the 1990s, increased incidents of coyote attacks were reported in states beyond California and in Canadian provinces. We documented 367 attacks on humans by coyotes from 1977 through 2015, of which 165 occurred in California. Of 348 total victims of coyote attack, 209 (60%) were adults, and 139 (40%) were children (age ≤10 years). Children (especially toddlers) are at greater risk of serious injury. The attacks exhibited seasonal patterns, with more occurring during the coyote breeding and pup-rearing season (March through August) than September through February. We reiterate management recommendations that, when enacted, have been demonstrated to effectively reduce risk of coyote attack in urban and suburban environments, and we note limitations of non-injurious hazing programs. We observed an apparent growing incidence of coyote attack on pets, an issue that we believe will drive coyote management policy at the local and state levels.

Date 2017
Publication Title Human-Wildlife Interactions
Volume 11
Issue 2
Pages 13
DOI 10.26077/jy37-s271
URL https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/hwi/vol11/iss2/3/
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal roles
  2. California
  3. Coyotes
  4. human-wildlife interactions
  5. open access
  6. Wild animals
  1. open access