Bobcats and Coyotes are some of the most misunderstood animals living here with us in the DFW Metroplex. Because they are predators, Bobcats and Coyotes often elicit an emotional and visceral response from people. We are hard-wired to react this way to animals that can be perceived as a threat. It’s automatic.
A typical scenario might play out something like this… A person spots a Bobcat or Coyote in their neighborhood for the first time. They assume that the animals has just arrived, and that because it is a predator, it is dangerous and must be dealt with. A harried call to municipal animal control usually follows.
But, these days most local animal control departments will not routinely respond to calls about Coyotes and Bobcats. They recognize that ordinarily there is nothing unusual or threatening about a Bobcat or Coyote being observed in our neighborhoods.
Question: Are there Bobcats and Coyotes in my neighborhood?
The answer—for both Bobcats and Coyotes—is an unequivocal, yes! Coyotes and Bobcats are exquisitely adaptable and that makes them very well suited to urban living. Every North Texas neighborhood I have surveyed has Coyotes and Bobcats that are either resident or that pass through with regularity. They are living among us all the time, but are seldom noticed because of their skill at staying out of sight. These animals are highly motivated to avoid interactions with people.
Question: What do we know about urban Bobcats and Coyotes?
Both Coyotes and Bobcats are typically active at dawn, dusk, and throughout the night. Low light conditions give them the cover they need to hunt and patrol unobserved by people. Occasionally, Coyotes and Bobcats will be out and about during daylight hours. There are a number of reasons for this, and it is generally no cause for concern.
Coyotes are frequently described as traveling or patrolling in “packs” but this is a bit of a misnomer. Coyotes are social animals, but they do not congregate or hunt in packs the same way wolves do. Ordinarily, Coyotes patrol and hunt singly or in pairs. They do form loosely associated packs and/or family groups in order to defend their home territory. These packs usually contain a mated alpha pair—the only Coyotes in the group who will breed. Some times transient young adult Coyotes will move in and out of existing packs until they find a situation that allows them to commit.
Coyotes are also known for their howling—an unmistakable sign that these animals live near your neighborhood. Sirens from emergency vehicles often inspire Coyotes to vocalize in this way. Here is how Wikipedia describes this behavior:
The coyote has been described as “the most vocal of all [wild] North American mammals”. Its loudness and range of vocalizations was the cause for its binomial name Canis latrans, meaning “barking dog”. At least 11 different vocalizations are known in adult coyotes. These sounds are divided into three categories: agonistic and alarm, greeting, and contact. Vocalizations of the first category include woofs, growls, huffs, barks, bark howls, yelps, and high-frequency whines. Woofs are used as low-intensity threats or alarms, and are usually heard near den sites, prompting the pups to immediately retreat into their burrows. Growls are used as threats at short distances, but have also been heard among pups playing and copulating males. Huffs are high-intensity threat vocalizations produced by rapid expiration of air. Barks can be classed as both long-distance threat vocalizations and as alarm calls. Bark howls may serve similar functions. Yelps are emitted as a sign of submission, while high-frequency whines are produced by dominant animals acknowledging the submission of subordinates. Greeting vocalizations include low-frequency whines, ‘wow-oo-wows’, and group yip howls. Low-frequency whines are emitted by submissive animals, and are usually accompanied by tail wagging and muzzle nibbling. The sound known as ‘wow-oo-wow’ has been described as a “greeting song”. The group yip howl is emitted when two or more pack members reunite, and may be the final act of a complex greeting ceremony. Contact calls include lone howls and group howls, as well as the previously mentioned group yip howls. The lone howl is the most iconic sound of the coyote, and may serve the purpose of announcing the presence of a lone individual separated from its pack. Group howls are used as both substitute group yip howls and as responses to either lone howls, group howls, or group yip howls.
Coyotes breed in the early spring. They utilize den sites which may be located under human-made structures. Away from urban development Coyotes will excavate dens on sloped ground in places obscured with vegetation.
Coyote pups are born blind and helpless. They depend exclusively on their mother’s milk for the first ten days of life. Later the pups’ diet is augmented with regurgitated food provided by the adults. Coyote pups begin patrolling with their parents by mid summer. Observing more than two Coyotes together unusually indicates a mated pair with nearly grown pups.
The lifespan of a Coyote in the wild is typically 6 to 8 years.
Adult Bobcats are generally solitary. Their average lifespan in the wild is around 7 years.
Bobcats ordinarily breed in the spring, but in Dallas/Fort Worth Bobcats can produce litters year round. Preferred den site will be similar to those of Coyotes—especially when human-built structures are utilized. Bobcats will sometimes use the storm sewer system for denning and patrolling purposes as well.
A typical litter will consist of 2 to 4 kittens. The female cares for her young without the assistance of the male. Like Coyote pups, Bobcat kittens are born blind and helpless. For the first ten days they will feed exclusively on their mother’s milk. By four months of age the kittens will begin patrolling with their mother while learning to hunt. When multiple Bobcats are seen together that typically indicates a mother patrolling with her nearly grown young. The young adult kittens will disperse and become independent before their first birthday.
More information about Bobcat breeding from Wikipedia:
Bobcats generally begin breeding by their second summer, though females may start as early as their first year. Sperm production begins each year by September or October, and the male is fertile into the summer. A dominant male travels with a female and mates with her several times, generally from winter until early spring; this varies by location, but most mating takes place during February and March. The pair may undertake a number of different behaviors, including bumping, chasing, and ambushing. Other males may be in attendance, but remain uninvolved. Once the male recognizes the female is receptive, he grasps her in the typical felid neck grip and mates with her. The female may later go on to mate with other males, and males generally mate with several females. During courtship, the otherwise silent bobcat may let out loud screams, hisses, or other sounds. Research in Texas has suggested establishing a home range is necessary for breeding; studied animals with no set range had no identified offspring. The female has an estrous cycle of 44 days, with the estrus lasting five to ten days. Bobcats remain reproductively active throughout their lives.
Question: What do Bobcats and Coyotes eat?
It surprises some to learn that Coyotes are omnivores. Just like a dog, Coyotes will each almost anything that is edible—plant or animal. Coyotes’ preferred diet changes over the course of the year as different food stuffs become available. In late summer, many Coyotes feed almost exclusively on the grasshoppers that are abundant then. Later, when cold weather sets in, Coyotes will shift their diet to include mesquite and honey locust beans. The evident seeds can be found in their scat during this season. Coyotes also enjoy fruit. Whenever I absolutely have to get a Coyote in from of a trail camera, I will bait the set with apples. Coyotes love them!
Rats and other small mammals are staples during other times of the year. Coyotes rarely hunt and feed on anything larger here in the metroplex.
Bobcats, on the other hand, are obligate carnivores. That means they feed almost exclusively on meat. Rats, squirrels, rabbits, and doves are their go to prey. Easy to catch and plentiful! If your neighborhood has any of these, then it almost certainly has resident Bobcats as well!
Question: Why do Coyotes and Bobcats come into our neighborhoods?
The answer is simple. There is an abundance in our neighborhoods! People surround themselves with a bounty, and our urban wildlife has learned to leverage it to their advantage. Plenty of food and water attracts smaller animals such as rats, rabbits, and squirrels. And the abundance of these prey animals makes sure Coyotes and Bobcats follow close behind.
Of course, construction is very disruptive to urban wildlife—Bobcats and Coyotes included. But, once things settle down, our neighborhoods become very inviting places for our more adaptable wildlife.
Coyotes and Bobcats also appreciate human-built structures for the same reasons we do—they are solid and reliable. Our constructs are often more safe and sound than natural dens. Creek-side burrows can flood and hollow trees can fall, but your patio deck ain’t going anywhere.
It is counter-intuitive in many ways, but the truth is that our neighborhoods can be very good habitats for resourceful animals like Bobcats and Coyotes. The proof is in the pudding. Wild animals simply will not be found in environments that cannot support them. Bobcats and Coyotes are in our cities because the urban ecosystem can provide for them adequately, otherwise they would leave or die.
It is a common misconception to believe that these animals have been desperately trapped in the city by development. But somewhat unexpectedly, there are statistics that show that many urban animals live longer, are healthier, and have bigger litters than their rural counter parts. It’s a little surprising, but it appears to be true.
Of course both Coyotes and Bobcat still need the refuge of undeveloped or parkland from time to time. Proximity to places like these increase the likelihood that you will find these animals in your neighborhood.
Question: Do Coyotes and Bobcats hunt and kill pets like cats and dogs?
Reports about missing pets frequently blame Bobcats and Coyotes for the disappearance. Misconceptions about Bobcats and Coyotes can cause people to assign blame to them even in cases when there is no supporting evidence. The result can be an escalation where the lone tragedy of losing a pet becomes a double tragedy when a Bobcat or Coyote is accused without cause, and public pressure compels animal control to take action. But there are many reasons that loose pets go missing, and predation by Bobcats and Coyotes is very low on the list.
In actuality, most loose pets are lost to automobile traffic. When a dog or cat is hit by a car, it is not unusual for vultures—which are also very common in our neighborhoods—to come in afterward and feed on the deceased pet. These partially consumed carcasses are frequently blamed on Coyotes and Bobcats.
Nonetheless, Coyotes and Bobcats DO occasionally take pets. Reports indicate that Coyotes may show a preference for cats, while Bobcats are thought to favor small dogs—10 pounds or less.
Both Bobcats and Coyotes are opportunistic predators. What this means is, that if an opportunity for an easy meal presents itself, then a Bobcat or Coyote is likely to pursue it. It is simply too much to expect them to pass up a low-effort dinner. Securing prey is a life or death endeavor for Bobcats and Coyotes—they cannot afford to let an opportunity pass.
A few years ago this news story from Richardson, Texas surfaced. After more than ten years of looking into the subject, this story provided the first unequivocal proof that I had ever found confirming that Bobcats will sometime hunt and kill pets.
The Yorkies’ behavior of boldly running toward its over-sized attacker is not uncommon for this breed. Yorkies are known to be aggressive and overly confident for their size. Centuries of selective breeding have reduced the mighty Gray Wolf to a shadow of its former self, except in the mind of the diminutive Yorkie.
This video illustrates an important common thread about Coyotes, Bobcats, and pets. When pets are taken by these predators, it tends to be aggressive small breeds that end up as victims. People with pets like these need to exercise additional caution when it comes to leaving them unattended. Experts report that fatal attacks on healthy pets larger than ten pounds are exceedingly rare.
Just remember, Coyotes and Bobcats are so ubiquitous and common throughout the metroplex that if they were making a habit out of hunting and killing our pets it would truly be a blood bath out there. The kind of encounter illustrated in the video above is the exception, not the rule.
The reason attacks on pets are rare is because earning a living as a predator is an inherently risky endeavor. A hunt can be expensive in terms of energy expenditure, and the effort can be dangerous for the predator—the risk of serious injury is always present. Taking on large and capable prey animals increases the likelihood the predator will be hurt. There are no doctors in the wild and injuries can lead to severe hardship or even death. Bobcats and Coyotes prefer to take on prey that cannot fight back. And dogs and cats are well equipped to resist.
While both of these predators can be expected to take small pets on rare occasion, neither should resort to hunting pets on a regular basis. Both Coyotes and Bobcats prefer smaller and easier prey such as rats, squirrels, and rabbits. In North Texas our communities are loaded with an abundance of all three. This is why Bobcats and Coyotes come into our neighborhoods in the first place.
Question: Are Coyotes and Bobcats dangerous to people?
People are quick to vilify Coyotes and Bobcats. They get a bad rap. I haven’t discovered evidence that it is really deserved. Coyotes and Bobcats are all around us—all of the time. Like I mentioned earlier, they can be found nearly every neighborhood in North Texas. If Bobcats and Coyotes were a serious danger to people, there would be little room for doubt–everyone would know. Nonetheless, many people remain fearful of these animals.
It is not unusual for people to overestimate that size of these predators. Bobcats and Coyotes are often described as “huge” or “the biggest I’ve ever seen.” The same is true of other creatures that can be perceived as dangerous, such as snakes and spiders. Bunny rabbits, for instance, are almost never described in this way. There is an aspect of human psychology that inclines people to perceive potentially dangerous animals as bigger and more threatening than they really are.
Because of their superficial resemblance to larger predators, such as Gray Wolves (up to 120lbs) and Mountain Lions (up to 220lbs), people often become alarmed when a Coyote or Bobcat is seen in their neighborhood. In truth, though, neither of these animals are very large or dangerous. Both can be described as medium-sized predators—with Coyotes averaging right around 45lbs and Bobcats typically right around 25 to 30lbs. For reference, that makes a Bobcat roughly the same size as a Beagle and a Coyote is similar in size to a Border Collie.
Both of these animals are equipped with teeth and/or claws that are purposed for maiming and killing prey. Both are capable of inflicting injury people, but neither are inclined to. Bobcats and Coyotes deserve your respect when encountered, but neither need to be feared ordinarily.
Bobcats and Coyotes are highly motivated to avoid contact with people. They are remarkably good at staying out of trouble in our neighborhoods. Unprovoked attacks on people are virtually unheard of.
Question: What should I do if I see a Bobcat or Coyote in my neighborhood?
There are a couple of schools of though on the matter. Most experts advocate hazing the animals by taking some action designed to impress the animal with the idea that being close to people is an inherently unpleasant thing. Hazing techniques include yelling, arm waving, projectile throwing, and spraying with water. All of these things would be done with the intent of convincing the Coyote or Bobcat that being around people is no fun and possibly even dangerous.
My thoughts on the matter are slightly different. I am more incline to believe there is no need for any engagement at all, under most circumstances. Bobcats and Coyotes are naturally predisposed to avoid contact with people. If you do not engage them, they will do their best to ignore and avoid you.
While it is unlikely that hazing might inspire aggression from either of these animals, the possibility is always there. It seems to me that there is little value in risking an unfortunate escalation through unnecessary engagement. My recommendation would be to only resort to hazing when that action has been suggested by a municipal animal control authority.
Seeing a Coyote or Bobcat is a rare event for most people—maybe even a once in a life time. It is ok to simply enjoy the opportunity to observe an intelligent and resourceful creature making its way in a challenging environment.
Question: Why am I seeing the same Bobcat or Coyote on a regular basis?
When Bobcats and Coyotes are seen with some regularly that can indicate that they have an active den with hungry offspring nearby. The increased demands caused by having many mouths to feed can encourage both of these animals to operate outside their preferred hours of activity. Many of you may be able to relate.
Once again, this is a situation that most municipal animal services will not respond to. But, many times professional exterminating and trapping companies WILL take action on these reports. These types of businesses depend on trapping jobs for their cash flow. They will take these jobs even when the owner/operator knows they should not. The result is often orphaned baby animals.
When mom disappears baby Bobcats and Coyotes will stay in the den until her extended absence impresses itself on the young. At that point the babies—if they are old enough to—will leave the den and begin to play and explore in the immediate area. This is when they will typically be noticed by people for the first time.
Later, as hunger set in, the young animals will feel compelled to leave the immediate area in search of some arbitrary comfort or satisfaction. Over the course of several days desperation will set in, leading the juveniles to wander aimlessly over sometime large distances.
These situations never end well for the young. At this stage in their life they are simply too inexperienced and not strong enough to survive on their own. This tragic set of circumstances usually plays itself out in a little under a week.
Question: Why haven’t I seen Coyotes or Bobcats in my neighborhood?
The answer is twofold. Coyotes and Bobcats prefer to avoid contact with people, and they are very good at keeping out of sight. Both Bobcats and Coyotes tend to be most active when people are not around. In places like business parks, Bobcats and Coyotes come out after quitting time. In neighborhoods they are usually most active after dark. It is not a coincidence that the color of the fur on these two animals provides extremely effective camouflage in low light conditions—a fact that can make these animals very difficult to notice, even if you are actively looking for them.
Question: What are Bobcats and Coyotes like?
Observing Coyotes going about their daily activities is a great privilege. They take care of each other. They play. They communicate over distances with their howling. Rarely are Coyotes bold and aggressive. In my experience, they tend to behave fearful and timid when encountered. They almost always choose retreat as their first, best option.
Wild Coyotes are tribal and territorial. Many times I have stopped for a moment to have a look around, and spotted a Coyote watching me from a distant tree line. They keep close tabs on who or what is moving through their territory. When they know they have been spotted, they will melt back into the brush a disappear from sight—even when there are hundreds of yards between us.
I’ve gotten the drop on a number of Coyotes over the years—surprised them at close range while they were preoccupied looking for food or interacting with each other. My impression has been that this situation embarrasses the Coyote, almost like they are ashamed they were caught with their guard down. You can read it in their body language.
The Coyotes I have observed have always impressed me with how dog-like their behaviors are. Coyotes and Dogs are similar animals. They have such a close kinship that they can easily relate to each other. In fact, loose dogs will sometimes take up with wild Coyotes for short periods of time. Dogs need and seek out companionship. Wild Coyotes will occasionally tolerate them tagging along.
Bobcats are different from Coyotes. They are not social in the same sense that canines are, and therefore do not have the same repertoire of submissive behaviors. Just like your house cat, they are supremely confident in their superiority.
When encountered, Bobcats generally do not flee in fear the way Coyotes do, but they DO still leave. Bobcats retreat in irritation at being discovered and disturbed. It’s easy to read by their body language their disgust with your intrusion.
I’ve actually had the wonderful opportunity to interact directly with Bobcats in a rescue/rehab facility. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Bobcats were warm and engaging animals. They sought out interaction with us and seemed to enjoy the attention.
Each Bobcat had a distinct personality. One had a preference for riding on my shoulders. Another was particularly interested in playing with my daughter. All enjoyed a nice scratch behind the ears.
Bobcats and Coyotes are wild animals that have a host of special needs. They cannot be domesticated. Any attempt to keep either as a pet is doomed to failure. But they do have many of the same characteristics that make house cats and dogs so endearing to us. They are intelligent and resourceful. They are loyal and loving.
In fact, it seems to me that predators like Coyotes and Bobcats experience feelings of affection more deeply than other animals. This is probably a practical matter—it is important that these animals do not mistake their mates, siblings, and offspring for prey. Strong bonds of affection help guard against making that error.
These and many other wonderful traits are there if you look for them. You just have to be willing to try!
39 Replies to “Are there Coyotes and Bobcats in YOUR Neighborhood?”
Chris, thank you very much for another interesting, engaging, and well written essay on our wonderful native wildlife. It just so happens that my exurban neighborhood is in the throes of a discussion about the merits or lack thereof of coyotes and foxes, both of which are common here. I have been putting forth similar arguments to yours, but with little success. One concern, and this is a real one, is that of people who keep chickens for eggs. Coyotes will take chickens (as will bobcats, but surprisingly, no one has complained about them so far though they also are common). Foxes, though smaller, have also been observed feeding on poultry. One solution I have proposed to people is to get a dog, and keep it outside, though in a fence. Another is to protect the poultry with a stout fence, with the bottom turned outward a foot and buried a foot deep. Of course, that adds to fencing costs, and if a fence is already in place, may be impractical. Another solution is to run a foot deep trench around the outside of the fence and to bury broken glass and cobble sized stones in it, obviating a fox’s ability to dig. They’ll just go for something easier, like mice and grasshoppers.
One neighbor even adamantly claimed that the state Fish and Game Department had been releasing foxes locally. They would have no reason to do so, given that foxes are already common, and all the land is privately owned, requiring owner cooperation for a game release. He saw no need to actually contact the department to determine the veracity of the claim, since, “Everyone knows it has been going on for years.” Finally another neighbor made the call, and of course, it never happened.
Again, thanks for the nice article.
One neighbor, in an attempt to show that coyotes were making off with his chickens, set up camera traps, only to find that his own dogs were the actual predators.
Thank you so much for warm, informative, engaging article! After some severe flooding at White Rock Lake a few weeks ago, we’ve experienced several visitors, particularly a bobcat that’s been “hanging” around, according to our neighbors. Some people are alarmed, but I thank one neighbor for sharing this article, so folks understand the urban wildlife situation with more information. I personally feel it’s a blessing to have these lovely beings amongst us and admire in their intelligence, beauty, and resourcefulness. I have liked you on FB and shared this article. Peace
That’s so great to hear! That’s what this article is for!
Hello, I live in lake highlands. I saw a bobcat last week during my early morning to job. I’m glad you are bringing awareness to our neighborhoods regarding these things
Got to spend about 5 min watching a coyote at Mallon Park around 8pm last night in Farmers Branch. very impressive.
Some sort of predator killed and ate (leaving only the skeleton) my neighbor’s large (approx. 200 #) billy goat the other night. There seems to be a pack of them according to others in our community outside Alvarado. Some say they’re coyotes, which I know are most likely abundant in the area. Reading your description of their ways and habits makes me wonder what they are.
Very informative and entertaining article! I live in the River Trails area in between Fort Worth and Hurst and have seen both Coyotes and Bobcats during my drive. Thank you for taking the time to document these animals.
Thanks..I live in Farmers Branch, off Selma and Web Chapel Rd., late this morning, while at my vanity I noticed an adult bobcat walking across the top of my fence approximately 30 feet from my window. I worried as my 10 lb. Cat was somewhere outside. I called animal control, they were at our house within 10 minutes. They will not do anything other than observe and document reports of sightings!
Great article. I’m curious of what your thoughts are about the coyote in Frisco that attacked a couple of joggers. The coyote was unprovoked. Thank you.
Shawn, I’m not terribly familiar with the coyote situation in Frisco that you are referring to. If people were actually attacked by a Coyote, then that would be an extreme outlier occurrence. There are thousands of Coyotes in the metroplex. If Coyotes were inclined to attack people, then attacks would happen frequently and would demand attention. There would be no room for ambiguity. In my experience, Coyotes are inclined to avoid contact with people. That is why they are seldom seen. When encountered by people, most Coyotes choose retreat or avoidance as their first, best options.
If a Coyote behaves differently than this there may be a couple of possible reasons. The Coyote could be sick or injured. The Coyote may have been fed by a person on a regular basis and lost its fear of people. That said, if a Coyote behaves in a nuisance or threatening way, then it is perfectly reasonable for the authorities to take some kind of action. Whatever is legal and will solve the problem.
Reporting on these types of occurrences is usually not very good, though. News accounts tend to be sensationalistic and contain exaggerations and erroneous assumptions about Coyote behavior. Some accounts will include unrelated, stock photos or video meant to illustrate, but not make that clear in the narrative. My guess is that if you go back and re-read the stories you will find them full of hearsay and lacking detail. For instance, does the news account describe how the people involved identified the animal in question as a Coyote, rather than a dog? Does the news account mention how the people involved and the authorities identified which Coyote was guilty of the offense?
The one report I did see about this situation shows a police dash cam, and was reported as the police officer preventing an attack on a jogger. That’s not the way I would interpret that video. The video does not show the coyote attacking a jogger. It shows the Coyote crossing the street quickly, at an opportune moment (with regards to the traffic), after the jogger has passed by. Coyotes aren’t aware of jay walking laws. They don’t have to cross on the crosswalk… They don’t have to use sidewalks. I might expect them attack on a beeline.
Regardless of the veracity of this situation overall, it will likely be a long time before we hear about anything similar happening again. If the Coyote in question did attack people and the authorities properly identified it and removed it, then the problem should be solved and there will be no more attacks. If there never really was a problem Coyote, then there will also be no more attacks.
A coyote attacked a dog in our Northeast Dallas neighborhood today. We have seen the same coyote every day for the past three weeks. This is the second report of an attack on a dog. This is a problem animal that may be sick, so we are trying to get the appropriate authorities to do something about it.
Thank you for the article.
We also live in the Frisco Texas area and only blocks away from the reported attacks. There has been a lot of “chat” up here about coyotes attacks, rabid and what not. With the rapid expansion of development it is not to surprising that the sightings have increased. The attacks seem to have been verified by people being taken to the hospital.
In one sense we kind of bad for the coyotes and bobcats as they seem to have gotten as you say a “bad rap”. However anytime an animal changes its normal behavior one must take notice.
A couple of simple questions:
1) what square acreage does it take to support bobcats and/or coyotes?
2) how many cases of rabies a year are reported out of their populations?
It was a very good article
I suppose it’s kind of natural to believe that Coyotes and Bobcats are in our neighborhoods because they have been trapped by development. That is really not the case. As it turns out, suburbia is pretty good habitat for Coyotes and Bobcats. They do well living among us.
1) How much acreage does it take to support Bobcats and Coyotes?
Not much. What these animals require is a safe place to hunker down undisturbed when they are inactive, and periods of time when there are few people around to distract them when they are active. Both Coyotes and Bobcats are relatively small animals, so a few bushes in some forgotten corner of a business park, vacant lot, park, etc will provide them adequate cover during the day. Bobcats have no trouble finding safe and secure refuge just about anywhere in a mature neighborhood with lots of landscaping.
Both of these animals need land that supports an adequate supply of prey. Most of our neighborhoods are full to the brim with rabbits, squirrels, rats, and doves that fit the bill perfectly. Coyotes are omnivores, so they can supplement with vegetable matter, and they frequently do.
Bobcats are right at home in most mature neighborhoods. They probably patrol a few blocks every night. Coyotes wander a little wider than bobcats, and may patrol multiple parks and neighborhoods each night.
The bottomline is that these animals have full access to our neighborhoods and business parks at night. They don’t need much, if any, undeveloped land to survive.
2) How many cases of Rabies in Coyotes and Bobcats?
Hardly any. Skunks are the primary rabies vector in North Texas. A quick perusal of the data shows that there was only one case of a Coyote with rabies documented in all of Texas this past year. Stats for Bobcats look very similar.
No offense but if the question is will coyotes attack people, the answer is yes, then explain the scenarios. Rather than beat around the bush about us vilifying them. If you’re a parent/guardian, watch your small children because they will take them. Very easy prey. They avoid grown humans but not always as you say.
Reading comprehension is so important. People should always keep watch on their small children. That goes without saying. There are enumerable dangers in the world. The risk of attack by Coyote is there, but it is at the absolute bottom of a very long list of dangers. It’s beneficial to keep things in perspective. All animals have the potential to cause problems for people. When there is a real issue, then it is perfectly reasonable to address the problem in any way that is ethical and legal. Vilification of animals with exaggerated claims is not necessary.
I found in this article good analytical points, if you have a child or pet you love one always protects them from getting hurt, I live in an area where nature is right on my backyard, I go for a walk everyday, and I am aware of the risk I am taking, always cautious and have a noise maker in case of any encounter with humans or wildlife, whatever we do, wherever we choose to go one always should take care of ourselves, or think of ‘what if’….
Nice article. My inlaws ranch in southwest Texas , and I grew up in the white rock area. I’ve seen both critters for 65 years and never had any experience of attacks. About 10 yrs ago, my neighbor came out the front door and saw my daughter’s 23 yr old cat being threatened by a grown coyote who was winning the race to the cat’s favorite tree. It killed the cat and ran just as my neighbor got to him. We found the front half in my yard, and the rear half across the street where the coyote dropped her as they were threatened. This is the only example of pet predation I’ve seen, and it may be due to population density. Ranchers will tell stories of live stock being killed by cats and coyotes, and I’ve heard enough stories that they probably see the herd of lambs as a nice buffet. However, more and more ranchers are starting to suspect feral hogs, as they will eat anything.
As a boy, I rarely saw bobcats.. you really had to work at it. It was a real surprise when I got to the ranch to find at least 3 cases where a bobcat attacked a home owner in town, another attacked on the ranch, and the third at a barn. It is 1 attack per decade, but still a painful bite and scratch reminder, along with the shots. I think they are pretty secretive, so if you see one looking at you, or snarling and aggressively moving toward you, it may be may be rabid. Act accordingly
yes but i also have coyotes in my neighborhood if you watch your children then youll be fine they are not offensive at all they just need food and space
email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Interesting article. You clearly are pro wildlife, offering every imaginable excuse and defence for their behaviors and ridiculing humans for their perception, even real unpleasant experiences of and with them.
Ohhhh What a relief this is! Finally something realistic being written about both species. Thank you so much fun
This defense of urban coyotes and bobcats totally ignores the fact that most people with small pets enjoy taking them out for a walk, or having confidence that they can put them in a well fenced backyard without danger. They should be able to do so without fear that a hungry coyote or bobcat may take their pet. Human beings should not be hostage to wild animals. Coyotes and bobcats belong in the wild, not in the cities.
No it doesn’t. We all want things we can’t always have. The article is just trying to let you know that the Coyotes and Bobcats are in your neighborhoods, and they are there because neighborhoods provide a habitat that meets their needs. There are thousands and thousands of Coyotes and Bobcats in the city. What are you going to do? Kill them all? Because suburbia is good habitat for these animals, new ones will backfill vacancies caused by removals faster than you can blink an eye.
The vast majority of pet owners will never have a problem with Coyotes or Bobcats. Ever. But always keep an eye on your pets when they are outside. That’s just responsible pet ownership. There are plenty of other dangers out there that are much more likely to kill or injure your pet than Coyotes or Bobcats.
And, I would enjoy being able to read a book without having to listen to my neighbor’s little dog yap all afternoon long. Sometimes we have to accommodate things we would rather not have to.
I totally agree with your comment! Am I supposed to feel great that there are loads of Bobcats and Coyotes in the metroplex and that they rarely attack humans. How nice. I live in Castle Hills in Lewisville where over the past year, the neighboring vacant land has been demolished to erect new housing. Since then, the bobcat sightings have been increasingly and increasingly frequent. Bobcats would be filmed by Ring devices and security monitors at night only. Now, bobcats can be seen roaming the neighborhood during the day and at all times of day. So while they “typically” don’t like to be seen and want to avoid humans, it appears that they are now deviating from that norm for whatever reason. Now that they’re acting differently than what is “typical” am I supposed to feel relief that they “typically” don’t attack pets or humans? I have two small dogs and a 5 year old who can’t go outside in our fenced back yard or enjoy our neighborhood. I guess someone will have to get attacked before it’s considered a problem. Absolutely ridiculous.
All I can do is share my experiences with these animals. If you guys have your own ideas about them, I certainly won’t try any further to change your mind. If you are an expert on the subject of Bobcats, I suggest you develop your own venue to communicate your plan for dealing with this perceived problem, and try to get your community to adopt it. If you’re not an expert, you might want to seek out some expert opinion.
It’s estimated thousands of bobcats and coyotes live in the Metroplex. Their primary diet includes rabbits, squirrels, rats, and doves. If we exterminated all the bobcats and coyotes, we would risk being overrun by rabbits, squirrels and rats. Seems to me these creatures are providing an organic pest control service. If a particular bobcat or coyote becomes dangerous or a nuisance, deal with it accordingly, but generally speaking I think they are probably doing a great deal to keep the rodent population in check. That is a positive thing.
About five months ago I was taking an early morning walk. I came around a blind corner, and I surprised a coyote (I was just as surprised). He looked embarrassed just as you described in your article, then he trotted off down the street. This was across the street from South Garland High School. I’ve lived in the neighborhood twelve years, and that’s the first I’ve ever witnessed a coyote in my neighborhood.
I also have seen coyotes behind Sunnyvale First Baptist Church, Sunnyvale, TX, but that’s not as surprising since it borders Samuel New Hope Park, a large wooded area.
Was in bed tonight and my roommates came to my door in a panic after being outside with our two dogs. The dogs heard a nose and barked and what they heard next scared the bejesus out of then. It was a Bobcat in my neighbors yard they woke me to investigate and unbenownced to them the animal and I caught but he didn’t attack so I told them it was gone. I’m pretty sure if it were a threat when I went or by myself it would have attacked but I’m sure it was more afraid of me than I of it.# BIGCATLOVER79#
While your views are heard, and I understand you
Are educating the public an these monsters. I want you to know that these monsters carried my 22 lb
Dog off into the woods and ate her whole upper part of her body. They are vultures and they are dangerous. The city should not allow them to live in
Urban areas. The city should make an effort to remove them. Because of what happened to my dog
I will kill any of them I see. I should not have to take this into my own hands. The city is responsible.
These monsters do not need to be living in th Dallas
Communities. The city should do their job and keep Dallas residents safe. I refuse, as I pay my taxes, to be afraid or alter my life for these monsters. They will not live in my Dallas nieghborhood if I can help it.
We have very different views of these vultures.
Sincerely Dallas resident
How to respond to this?
1) I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your dog. I have dogs too, and would hate to lose one.
2) I don’t appreciate the tone of your comment. It is a impolite rant, not a well reasoned argument.
3) There is nothing the City can do to permanently remove Coyotes. There are too many of them, and they do not ordinarily cause problems. That is why the city does not pursue a policy of extermination.
4) I don’t know how you are planning on killing Coyotes, but it is absolutely against the law to discharge a firearm inside city limits.
5) Pet owners have the ultimate responsibility for their pet’s well being and safety—not the city. Just like you wouldn’t let your pet play in the street, there are simple things you can and should do to protect them from Coyote attacks.
6) Automobile traffic kills far more pets than Coyotes. Coyote attacks are very rare.
7) Most reports of this nature are based on speculation. Without actually witnessing the attack, it can be very difficult to determine how a pet was killed. Often pets are killed by cars and then fed on by vultures, for instance.
8) Coyotes in our city is a reality that you will ultimately have to accept. They’re not going anywhere.
9) Please seek out expert advice, so that incidents like this one are not repeated in the future.
Again, they are WILD animals and will do anything within their animal instincts to feed themselves. PS: I have a dog as well, and I understand how much it hurt. But you can’t be enraged towards a wild animal who was just trying to survive..?
Best article I’ve found yet on coyotes and bobcats – well done! I’d actually like to respond to the hysterical rant by the woman who thinks either a coyote or bobcat (i.e. “monster / vulture”) killed her pet dog.
Look, I get it – people LOVE their pets – even more than they love their fellow human beings, so it’s a terrible loss when one dies, or is killed. My condolences for that.
BUT… your reaction is unreasonable. Have you considered that each year, more than 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs? Many people – especially women and children are also permanently disfigured or even killed by dogs every year. This is completely preventable and totally unacceptable in a civilized society. Being threatened, chased, attacked and bitten or mauled by a dog is a horrific experience that will scar you for life.
Based on these statistics, to be consistent with your stance on coyotes and bobcats, you should call all dogs “monsters” and “vultures” and demand that the government hunt them all down and kill them, or somehow magically banish them all to “the wild”.
Here’s my background – as a kid, like all kids in this culture, I LOVED dogs and wanted one as a pet so badly. Until I was terrorized several times by a neighbor’s dog, which was allowed to roam the neighborhood at will, and would chase me while innocently riding my bike, fishing at a nearby pond, etc.
Have you ever been chased by a dog? Let me tell you – it’s absolutely terrifying! On either occasion, if that thing had caught me, I would have been horribly disfigured at a minimum, and maybe killed. Once I was able to get away by bike, but only because I was peddling as fast as I could *downhill* – so fast that I was afraid I was going to lose control and wipe out if the dog didn’t get me first. The other time, fortunately I was spear-fishing, so I had something to put at the dog’s throat as it was barking furiously at me, having backed me right to the edge of the pond. I was so terrified I was crying. Fortunately the owner heard the commotion and came running down and grabbed the dog by the collar, but also grabbed ME by the arm and marched me off his property (as a neighbor, I had a right to walk around the ponds in the area). No apology – just the opposite – he was mad at ME! Total psychopath. I was just a kid!
Another time a dog chased me down a hill – this time I was on foot, and of course it bit my leg and I wiped out – fortunately my father was there and chased the dog off just in time – a second later that thing would’ve bit my neck or face.
There were other incidents too – like when I was jogging in a park, only to be shocked and terrified to realize that a dog had come out of nowhere and was barking and chasing me – right on my heels. Dog’s owner saved me that time. HELLO? That’s why the law says you’re supposed to keep your dog on a leash! Again, no apology – instead the psychopath dog-owner just looks at ME like I’m crazy or something.
So yeah – dogs are SOOO wonderful – to YOU – the owner, who feeds it – OF COURSE. But to the rest of us? Maybe not so much.
On the other hand, I walk a lot, often at night, when it’s cool, quiet, the air is cleaner, the stars are out, it’s peaceful, no cars, no people, etc. And I’ve come across coyotes on a number of occasions. And they never bothered me! They just trot along, minding their own business, maybe giving me a quick glance. Actually, that was one time – the other times, we seemed to notice each other at the same time and both of us were startled, but once I realized it was a coyote and not a dog, I felt great relief, and just stood there looking at it, and the coyote seemed more scared of me than I of it – and it just turned and trotted off.
Only one experience with a bobcat – it crossed my path in broad daylight, maybe 10 feet in front of me – didn’t even look at me.
If you think about it, coyotes are almost another breed of dog – the most beautiful, intelligent and gentle kind. If only dogs behaved like coyotes! Unfortunately, many/most breeds of dogs were created by sick people to terrorize and kill other people. Always getting barked at and threatened by sick people’s dogs while just minding my own business, trying to get some exercise in my own neighborhood. WTH?
In a civilized country like Sweden, most of these psychos couldn’t afford a dog – they wouldn’t be able to afford the expensive “dog bite insurance” that is mandated by law, or the proper training that is mandated by law, or even the registration and genetic testing so animal control can identify who didn’t clean up after their animal or who let their dog run around off leash and slap them with a nice, fat, well-deserved fine. Imagine that – people being able to walk and jog in public places without having to worry about being attacked by a dog or even seeing and smelling the mess left everywhere by psychopath dog-owners! That’s civilized.
4.5 MILLION are people attacked by vicious dogs, in the United States alone. HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS hospitalized. TENS OF THOUSANDS undergo reconstructive surgery. 30 to 50 people are KILLED by dogs. EVERY YEAR. It happens so often, the media don’t even report on it. But MAYBE one person per year gets attacked by a coyote, and people go nuts? NOW they’re afraid? Think about it!
Unfortunately, you seem to be a bit out of touch. We have an abundance of coyotes and bobcats in Lee Park. You can hear the “slaughter “ at night. Half eaten carcasses of cats and dogs are found. A pack of coyotes dug under my friends fence to kill and remove her dog that had just been let outside to potty. In Frisco, a coyote was attacking runners. The police stepped in and caught him. I have seen theIr viciousness at our ranch with our cows. That is why ranchers shoot on sight. The animals have become desensitized to humans and are no longer afraid of us. A 3 year old child in California was killed while playing in his front yard. A 19 year old was killed in Canada by a pack of coyotes. There were others present and went to her assistance yet the coyotes had already killed her. These are wild animals and we need to treat them as such. They are not sweet dogs and cats.
I wonder if we have coy-wolves here in dfw? Neighbors in Nevada area have witnessed pack hunting behavior. Surrounding a 160 pound dog, and one distracting while the others attack. It seems they are large for coyotes also, but that could be due to the abundance of food in the area.
EDITOR’S NOTE: There are no coy-wolves in DFW.
I spotted a coyote yesterday night (5/3/2022) around 9:35pm in Flower Mound around Morris and Garden intersection
Absolutely love your article. Grew up in DFW and have witnessed coyotes running across the yard of a friend I grew up with and stay at regularly when I visit family. Same thing as back east, where I hear fox and other critters nightly, people keep building affordable housing outwards so there’s fewer and fewer places for animals to avoid urban sprawl.
People are everywhere and they bring their things which infringe on every natural creature. And they care about feral cats which become food for other animals when there’s an abundance. Personally, I wish we could be more like Alaska, and cohabitate with bears and moose in our parks, and just use common sense. But that seems to be a pipe dream for people that can’t pick up after themselves or observe leash laws for their pets.
Also, there’s more fear for people stealing dogs and children around than there should be for wild animals.