This successful predator is found from Panama in the south to Alaska in the north and throughout all states of the continental U.S. and most of Canada. It adapts well to urban areas and lives, feeds, and breeds around areas of heavy human population. It is a fast runner capable of bursts of speed up to 43 mph and jumps of over 13 feet. It can turn quickly when pursuing prey, and all of this accounts for its success as a predator of animals such as jackrabbits and other fast-running animals. They commonly live in small packs of 6 or more individuals and hunt in packs or pairs. They typically live in ground burrows which they may dig themselves or they may use abandoned burrows of groundhogs or badgers. Females give birth once a year to a litter that averages 6 pups. These are fully grown and independent in about 1 year but generally remain with the family unit. Communication is with a variety of sounds, including the familiar high-pitched howling / yipping heard most often at night. Their diet is anything from insects to smaller mammals, but even as large as a deer. In urban areas they commonly feed on cats and small dogs, but have been known to attack and kill humans.
It is important to check the legal status of coyotes in any state prior to beginning a control program. In some states it may be classified as a game animal, a fur-bearing animal, or it may be hunted with the appropriate license, particularly when it is considered to be a depredating animal in an area. Shooting is a common method of control where it is legal, as many states have instituted prohibitions on traps and no poisons are available. If fencing can be installed around smaller areas it should be a minimum of 5.5 feet high and buried at least 6 inches into the soil, with a mesh no larger than 6 inches. Around urban areas people are encouraged to learn techniques for “hazing” coyotes, designed to make the animals uncomfortable around humans and to avoid all human contact.