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- A member of the Canide (dog) family
- Coloration is generally greyish brown with lighter fur on throat and belly, individual colors and patterns may vary
- Fur is dense and thick, often giving them a larger appearance
- Ears are pointed and stand up, unlike the ears of domestic dogs that often droop
- When running, coyotes carry their bushy, black-tipped tail down usually below the level of their back
- Common throughout Michigan in rural to urban areas
- Active day and night, most active around sunrise and sunset
- Abundant in areas where adequate food, cover and water are available
- Home range size depends on the food and cover resources available and on the number of other coyotes in an area. It generally averages between 8-12 square miles, in urban areas they average 2-5 miles
- Breeding takes places Jan. - March and people are more likely to see and hear coyotes during this time
- Mated pairs and 4-7 pups occupy the home range during the spring and summer seasons
- If there is a den nearby, people may also see the adults throughout the summer as they care for their pups
- Pups leave the den site in the fall and these young dispersing animals are sometimes more visible
- Coyotes eat a variety of foods: small mammals such as mice, voles, shrews, rabbits, hares and squirrels are preferred foods. However, insects, fruits, berries, birds, frogs, snakes, deer, plants and seeds are also eaten
Living with Coyotes
For your safety, NEVER intentionally feed or try to tame coyotes. It is critical that they retain their natural fear of people.
- Eliminate outside food sources.
- Garbage or pet food left out may draw their attention.
- Coyotes may also take advantage of the small mammals and birds that bird feeders and gardens often attract.
- Clear out brush piles that provide hiding places for small mammals and birds.
- Keep small pets indoors or accompany them outside and keep them on a leash.
- If you see a coyote in your area, try to scare it off by yelling, clapping or making other loud noises. Most coyotes are naturally afraid of people and will leave if you frighten them.
- Coyotes, like any wild animal, can act unpredictably and should be treated with respect and enjoyed from a distance.
Conflicts with Coyotes and Management Options
Coyote hunting and trapping seasons are available statewide. Details on season dates and bag limits can be found in the Fur Harvester Digest.
If problems exist outside regular hunting or trapping seasons, coyotes can be killed without a license on private land by the landowner or a designee if the coyote is doing or about to do damage to private property, pets, livestock, or humans.
In some areas, hunting or trapping may not be allowed for certain reasons. In this case, specially permitted nuisance control companies can be hired to assist landowners in the safe removal of problem animals.
If coyote depredation becomes a problem, please contact your local DNR office:
- DNR Customer Service Centers or 800-292-7800 after business hours
Tips on preventing coyote problems:
- Coyote Damage Control and Prevention (External Link)
Links to Other Coyote Resources
Information on urban coyotes
- Urban Coyote Ecology and Management - The Cook County, Illinois Project (Ohio State University Extension)
Coyote biology, habitat, and other information
Brochures and Booklets