Adult male coyote: 44–52" (including 14" tail), 25–42 lbs.
Illustration courtesy of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Milwaukee County Coyote Management Effort: Feb. - March 2016 (See pdf flyer)
Milwaukee County Parks-Natural Areas Program will be collaborating with UW-Madison Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology's UW Urban Canid Project to apply uniquely colored ear tags to coyotes within targeted areas. Live trapping and ear tagging will occur along the Underwood Creek Parkway from Feb.– March 2016. The public is advised to please keep all pets on leash and remain on designated hiking and/or biking trails when using these areas. It is against state law to tamper with set traps. Cable restraint traps will not harm coyotes, simply restrain them so that staff can ear tag each animal and then release them for further monitoring.
Milwaukee County Coyote Watch Project (See pdf flyer)
The main objective of the Milwaukee County Coyote Watch Project is to learn more about coyote populations in Milwaukee County and monitor their behaviors. We ask that residents of Milwaukee County report any sightings of coyotes to this public database at www.inaturalist.org
Coyotes, very adaptable wild members of the dog family, are common in northern Wisconsin and are also found in every county in the state. They are a game animal in Wisconsin; they are not endangered.
A coyote is larger than a red fox and smaller than a gray wolf. (See the illustration above for further details.) To tell the difference between a coyote and a wolf, note that a coyote carries its tail below the level of its back when it runs, whereas a wolf will hold its tail up while running.
Coyotes inhabit woodland edges, prairies, and other areas that provide cover. Dens have even been found in cultivated fields where coyotes keep rodent populations in check.
Scavenger & Predator
The coyote's diet is widely varied. As scavengers, coyotes eat dead animals, fruits, berries, and corn. They will also raid your garbage and eat pet food left outdoors. As predators, they stalk mice, other rodents, and small mammals – including those that are attracted to the seed in your bird feeders, and your pet cat. Coyotes may view your dog as a threat to their territory and food base, and may attack it as well.
Coyotes hunt most actively at night. They emerge from their dens in the early evening to begin their hunt for food and return in the early morning. Because coyotes are opportunists, be sure to accompany your pet when you let it out first thing in the morning. In a "safe" area, coyotes may be seen hunting for food during the day.
In addition to hosting parasites such as mites, ticks, and fleas, coyotes may carry diseases such as rabies and distemper. If you are a pet owner, keep your pet's vaccinations up to date to avoid complication from contact with an infected wild animal or its secretions.
Preventing problems & keeping your pets safe:
- Do respect coyotes as wild animals – they will lose their instinct to be wary of people if they begin to associate food with a human presence.
- If you see a coyote, talk loudly to warn/scare it off. Watch this video to learn more about it
- Feed your pet indoors – or if you do feed your pet outdoors, promptly remove the food dish after the feeding.
- Remove your bird feeders and outdoor pet food containers – coyotes will prey upon the small mammals that are attracted to them.
- Store pet food indoors.
- Put trash in barrels with tightly fitting lids.
- Accompany your pet outside and speak loudly to warn/scare off coyotes. Be extra watchful between dusk and dawn. Also be especially cautious when you let your pet out first thing in the morning.
- Provide secure shelters for outside pets such as poultry and rabbits.
- Do not feed coyotes!
- Do not provide food and water for other wildlife – coyotes will prey upon them in your yard.
- Do not let your pet run free outside – coyotes may view cats as prey, and dogs as a threat to their food base.
If you see a coyote that is acting strangely. . .
this includes a coyote acting restless or agitated, making choking motions, or drooling excessively, call Animal Damage Control at (888) 963-7463 or, after hours, call (800) 847-9367.
For more information
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has detailed information about the coyote and can answer additional questions you may have. Call (414) 263-8500.