Coyotes don’t typically attack humans, but you never know what may happen if you come across a hungry coyote while camping or hiking out in the wilderness.
Since coyotes can run as fast as 43 miles per hour, you’re going to have to find a clever way to escape. I’d imagine climbing a tree would be a good escape option, right?
I mean, coyotes can’t climb trees, can they?
Yes, a coyote may climb a tree if they’re reaching for food and the branches are low enough to the ground. While coyotes may be part of the canine family, they don’t weigh as much as a dog or wolf and their legs are proportionally longer. This makes them more capable climbers.
However, if the branches are too high off the ground then a coyote has no chance of climbing the tree. This means you could use a tree as an escape plan if you’re being chased by a coyote, but you better climb fast or find a tree with branches fairly high off the ground.
As long as you climb quickly you should be fine though. Coyotes aren’t proficient climbers by any means. After all, they’re just canines.
Can a Coyote Climb a Tree?
If you’re living in North America, you’re bound to spot a coyote at some point, and although they aren’t generally dangerous to humans, it’s essential to know how to avoid conflict. Coyotes are known for fatal run-ins with small pets like dogs and cats; however, they are unlikely to attack humans.
If you do come across a coyote, the worst thing you can do is run away as they’re likely to chase you. As long as you stand your ground, they’ll typically run away first. If they don’t and you feel that you’re in danger, you can climb a tree to get away from them.
However, make sure to climb fast as they may be able to climb onto the first branch or two if they really want to reach you.
Here’s a link to a Youtube video that shows a coyote climbing an apple tree. It will give you an idea of what I mean.
Can Coyotes Climb Fences?
Coyotes are not skilled climbers, but they can jump. If your fence line is lower than three feet, a coyote will have no problem jumping over. If you have a fence that’s higher than three feet and don’t understand how coyotes are still getting into your yard, it’s because of the material of your fence!
A coyote can jump onto a fence, and if it’s made of a material with slots for them to scale the fence, they may be able to climb a short distance to get over the wall. The higher your fence, the less likely this will be; however, you can ensure coyotes can’t get over your fence by:
- Installing a roller bar on the top of the fence line
- Changing your fence to be solid wood paneling without any gaps (this is slippery and offers no traction for jumping up)
- Installing a higher fence without any significant gaps
This is especially important if you have small dogs or other pets that spend unsupervised time outside. These are easy prey species for coyotes and will potentially lure them closer to your home or your location out in the wilderness.
Where Do Coyotes Range?
For those who spend much time outdoors, it’s essential to know the larger species that reside in your region. Coyotes range across North America, down into Central America and Mexico. They can be spotted in almost any state in the United States, but they prefer more open landscapes.
It’s much more common to spot these canines in the prairie or desert. Often, they spend their days in a den, coming out mostly to look for food. They have an incredible sense of smell and will travel on average two to three miles per day searching for food.
Over the past few years, it has become increasingly common to spot coyotes in urban areas because it’s easier for them to scavenge for food.
What Will Keep Coyotes Away?
Whether you’re spending the night in the wilderness or you have a problem keeping coyotes out of your yard, there are several ways to deter the canines.
Keeping your space clean is the easiest way to keep unwanted animals away. If you’re camping, be sure to secure your garbage and avoid leaving any trash, food, or debris around your site. This will entice wildlife and bring them closer to where you’ve settled. The same goes with your home. Keep your yard clear of any bones, treats, or waste to reduce the smells coming from your property.
If this isn’t working, you can invest in coyote repellent or get a guard dog. Any larger dog breed will effectively scare off coyotes since they are not very large. Similarly, keep your smaller animals inside the house where coyotes cannot get to them.
Many people use motion-activated lights to prevent break-ins, but did you know you can get motion-activated sprinklers to ward off unwanted wildlife? This will startle wildlife and get them away from your property without injuring them. With many more skittish species, one time may be enough for them to not return to your land again.
What to Do If I Run Into a Coyote?
If a coyote is already in your yard, campsite, hiking trail, or anywhere that’s too close for comfort, it’s vital to know how to scare them off. Running from predator species like canines will only cause a chase which can result in injury. Instead, always stand your ground and make loud noises.
Small carnivores like coyotes are unlikely to challenge you if you make yourself out to be the predator in the situation. Coyotes are easy to scare off, so you won’t need to use force or attack them to neutralize the threat.
Wave your arms, shout, and make yourself large in the space you’re occupying. If the coyote didn’t run away simply by seeing humans, this will surely scare it off. You can even carry something on your person that makes noise while you hike or camp to have a backup in this kind of situation.
Remember that you don’t want coyotes to get habituated to living near humans, as it’s dangerous for them. Therefore, do not encourage them by offering food. This could become a more significant problem later on and result in the coyote being culled or relocated to a different region.
If you’re still nervous about running into a coyote on your next adventure or in your backyard, rest assured knowing that more people are killed by flying champagne corks per year than are bitten by a coyote. Attacks are incredibly rare and not something to be concerned about as long as you have your wits about you while in coyote range habitat.