Coyote Attacks On People in the U.S. and Canada

Coyote attacks on people are extremely rare. There have been a small number of attacks on people in the U.S. and Canada, with most of the attacks involving small children under 5 years of age. Since 3 million children are bitten by dogs every year, your small child is millions of times more likely to get hurt by the family pet than by a coyote.

Coyotes, also referred to as prairie wolves or wild dogs, are native to much of the West but have gradually spread throughout the U.S. and Canada, replacing exterminated wolf populations. They first showed up in New England in the 1930s and 1940s. (The Coyote)

A typical coyote attack to a sheep or goat is to bite the throat just behind the jaw and below the ear, causing death from suffocation and shock.

Coyotes have justifiably a huge fear of humans. Usually coyote attacks on people occur when a coyote has become comfortable around people, often as a result of people feeding them. (Living With California Coyotes (pdf); National Wildlife Federation)

In the rare event that a coyote attacks you or someone near you, yell at the coyote to make it back off. Don't run away since a coyote can outrun you (unless you can run faster than 30 mph!). (Los Altos Town Crier 7/24/96; Coyote Fact Sheet)

Here are some overall statistics:

Here are the attacks I know about, which is undoubtedly not a complete list:

LAT Los Angeles Times
OCR Orange County Register
SDUT is the San Diego Union Tribune

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Copyright © 2000-2001 by Tom Chester.
Permission is freely granted to reproduce any or all of this page as long as credit is given to me at this source:
Comments and feedback: Tom Chester
Updated 23 October 2001.