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Living With Coyotes in New York City

Be Coyote Smart

Courtesy of Nathan Payne/NYC Parks

Coyotes are common throughout New York State, including urban areas. Recent sightings confirm that coyotes live in New York City and are active in the Bronx.

Seeing a coyote for the first time can be an exhilarating or an alarming experience. If you see a coyote, do not panic.  Most coyotes are not dangerous to people. Nationwide, only a handful of coyote bites are reported each year.

Recognizing a Coyote

Coyotes are canines, which means that they are members of the same genus as wolves and domesticated dogs. In general, coyotes appear "sleeker" than domesticated dogs, with a flatter forehead and a more pointed snout. Coyotes appear to have longer legs than domesticated dogs, while dogs appear to have deeper chests. Also, they have very different tracks. Coyote tracks are more elongated, and they place their front and back paws in alignment when they walk.

Five Easy Tips for Coexisting with Coyotes

  1. Do Not Feed Coyotes. Keeping coyotes wild is the key to coexistence. Their life and your safety depend upon coyotes remaining naturally wary of people.

  2. Remove Attractants. Store food, pet food, and garbage in animal proof containers. Do not leave food or garbage behind in a park.

  3. Supervise Pets. Walk dogs on a leash and keep cats inside for safety.

  4. Keep Coyotes Wary. If you are approached, act big and make loud noises until the coyote retreats.

  5. Appreciate Coyotes. From a distance. Stay at least 150 feet (45 meters) or more from the animal.

When to Report a Coyote Sighting

Most coyotes are not dangerous to people. If you spot an aggressive or fearless coyote, report it immediately to on-site golf course or Parks personnel. In case of a medical emergency, such as a bite from or physical contact with a coyote, please call 911.

Coyote Facts

  • Coyotes are not strictly nocturnal.  They may be observed during the day, but are generally more active after sunset and at night.
  • You may see and hear coyotes more during mating season (January - March) and when the young are dispersing from family groups (October - January). 
  • Coyotes eat what is prevalent and easy to find, shifting their diet to what is seasonally or locally available, including rodents, birds, vegetation, insects and carrion. 
  • Coyotes are naturally wary of people but can habituate to the food sources we provide and our presence.

Information on this page is adapted from Project Coyote. Visit Project Coyote's website for more information.

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