Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version

April 2007


Published in the Proceedings of the 12th Wildlife Damage Management Conference (D.L. Nolte, W.M. Arjo, D.H. Stalman, Eds). 2007.


We summarize previously published information on coyote attacks on humans in North America. This problem has developed primarily in urban and suburban areas of southern California since the early 1970s, and the frequency of attacks and other human safety incidents is increasing. Similar attacks are now known from at least 18 states in addition to California and from 4 Canadian provinces, with the majority of attacks occurring since the early 1990s. We review early explorers’ and settlers’ accounts of coyotes in the Los Angeles area, as well as development of coyote control programs during the 20th century. We also describe the political and human dimensions aspects of attempts to manage suburban coyotes, noting that a wide range of beliefs and opinions can be present among city-dwellers. We believe the most important factors contributing to coyotes’ habituation to humans, which in southern California has led to coyote aggression and attacks, are: residential habitats rich in resources; reduced efforts to control coyote populations; and changing human attitudes and behavior toward coyotes. Similar circumstances in other suburban habitats in North America may have led to increased coyote attacks elsewhere, but it is difficult to predict if they will become as numerous as in southern California.