Florida Wildlife & Your Pet: Coyotes

Florida Wildlife & Your Pet: Coyotes

Coyotes are found throughout Florida both in the urban and agricultural areas. You probably have heard stories of coyotes going after cats and smaller dogs, though attacks on people and larger dogs are rare they do happen.  Here are some ways that you can protect yourself and your pets.


We have had quite a few Coyote sightings recently in the area due to the loss of habit, resources, and rise in construction. With more interaction and sightings, it appears that they may be getting more comfortable and lose their natural fear of people. 

Identifying a Coyote

  • At a distance, Coyotes look like skinny or sickly German Shepherds, but Coyotes are much smaller than German Shepherds and are more of a size of another breed like the Whippet. Coyotes are opportunists and scavengers for food, but they can hunt in packs as well. Some physical traits of coyotes are:
    • Erect Pointy and Triangular Ears
    • Grayish-Brown to Yellowish-Brown Coat
    • Whitish Chest and Underbelly
    • Long and Slender Muzzle with a small nose pad
    • Bushy, drooping tail, and may feature a black tip
    • Narrow Chest
    • Coyotes run with its tail down versus a Dog’s tails are up in the air when they run.


Courtesy of FWC
  • There are several way to prevent coyotes from coming onto your properity, by removing whatever is attracting them to that area.
    • Don’t keep pet food outside.
    • Securely cover your trash and recycling cans.
    • Keep cats indoors especially between the dusk and dawn hours (when coyotes tend to be most active).
    • Make your yard a less attractive habitat by keeping your yard trimmed and clean.
    • Coyote breeding season, which takes place from January through March they will be more active and territorial.
    • Make sure your dog has a strong recall command.
    • Do NOT use retractable leashes to walk your pet.
    •  Coyotes tend to be nocturnal but may also be active in the early morning and at sunset. 

What to Do If You and Your Dog Are Followed By a Coyote:

    • Coyotes can run up to 40 mph over a short distance
  • Make yourself seem bigger and more terrifying to the coyote by waving your arms, yelling, and making a lot of noise.
  • Maintain Eye Contact with the Coyote
  • Keep Your Pet Leashed and if you have Smaller Dog pick them up.

Products to Protect Yourself and Your Pet

  • Anti-Coyote Collars and Jackets
  • Carry Air Horn or Whistle
  • Pepper or Bear Spray

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About the Author:

Savanna Westwood

Savanna Westwood is the Owner and Founder of The Savvy Sitter, Pet Sitting and Dog Walking, LLC. She has grown up with animals all her life and enjoys spending time with them. Savanna has lived in the Winter Garden and Windermere Area for over 30 years. When she is not taking care of Fur Friends, one can find her reading, practicing archery, riding, and devising ways to provide additional and excellent services to clients.  Savanna is a Certified Professional Pet Sitter with Pet Sitter International's CPPS certification and also holds certification in Pet First Aid and CPCR for Pet-Care Professionals.

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