If you live in North America, you’re usually in coyote territory. While spotting one of these agile mammals from a distance may feel like a treat, finding one trapesing through your yard usually isn’t. If you see one near your home, one thing is normally crossing your mind: figuring out how to keep coyotes away from your house and yard.
You have several options available if you’re trying to determine how to deter coyotes from your yard. Besides removing food sources and potential den spots, deterrents like repellents, motion-sensing alarms, large predator urine, and hazing can be effective.
- Are Coyotes Dangerous?
- How to Keep Coyotes Away from Your House and Yard
- 1. Remove Food Sources
- 2. Clear Brush or Potential Den Spots
- 3. Tall Fencing
- 4. Motion-Activated Sprinklers
- 5. Motion-Sensing Coyote Alarms
- 6. Motion-Activated Lights
- 7. Guard Dogs, Donkeys, or Llamas
- 8. Wolf or Mountain Lion Urine
- 9. Ammonia
- 10. Mothballs
- 11. Vinegar-Filled Water Guns
- 12. Hazing
- 13. Cayenne Pepper
- 14. Perfume or Cologne
- 15. Homemade Coyote Repellent
- How to Scare Coyotes Away
- What to Do If Coyotes Are Near Your House?
- What Smell Keeps Coyotes Away?
- Will Human Urine Keep Coyotes Away?
- The Best Way to Keep Coyotes Out of Your Yard
Are Coyotes Dangerous?
While coyotes don’t usually attack people, that doesn’t mean they aren’t dangerous. Any wild animal – coyotes included – may attack if they feel threatened or cornered. Along with possibly hurting people in your household, they might go after pets, either to defend themselves or to snag a meal.
Additionally, coyotes can carry a variety of diseases, infections, and parasites. Rabies, tularemia, distemper, and canine hepatitis are all possibilities. The same goes for ticks, fleas, mites, flukes, and worms.
Some illnesses in coyotes are only transmissible through direct contact. However, others may be transmitted through urine or feces. As a precaution, it’s usually best to find ways to keep the coyotes away from your home.
How to Keep Coyotes Away from Your House and Yard
1. Remove Food Sources
Coyotes are technically predators, but they’re highly opportunistic ones. Since that’s the case, they’ll also scavenge for food, which can bring them into people’s yards and near their homes if they think they’ve found a tasty treat.
If you want to keep coyotes away, remove any potential food sources. Don’t leave pet food in dishes outside, and keep garbage cans tightly sealed. If you drop any food while barbecuing, make sure to pick it up and toss it into a secure receptacle.
For homes with fish ponds outside, it’s crucial to know that the fish can become a food source for coyotes if it isn’t properly secured. The same can go for bird feeders, as the birds may be an enticing meal that could draw coyotes onto your property.
Small household pets – including cats and smaller dogs – may also be considered a potential food source for coyotes, so don’t leave them unattended outside. If you have farm animals, such as chickens, they’ll also look like a tasty meal, so they need to be adequately protected.
2. Clear Brush or Potential Den Spots
Coyotes prefer not to spend too much time in the open, particularly if they’re looking for a den spot. If you want to decrease coyote traffic and discourage denning, your best bet is to remove brush, tall grass, wood piles, or anything else a coyote may view as cover. That’s especially true if any potential den spots are near a water or food source, as that could make them an attractive option for coyotes.
3. Tall Fencing
Physical barriers can keep coyotes away if they’re the proper height and have the right features. With a fence, you usually want to make sure it’s at least six feet tall.
Additionally, an outward extension or coyote roller at the top makes the fence hard to climb. Burying the bottom 12 to 18 inches of the fence in the ground prevents coyotes from pushing through the underside, so that’s a wise choice, too.
In many cases, you’ll either want to go with chain link or tight slat fencing. If the slats are too far apart, slimmer coyotes may be able to wiggle through, making the fence ineffective.
You can use an electric fence if you’d like, as the small shock can effectively keep coyotes out. However, it will also shock any person or animal that contacts it, which can make it a poor choice if you have pets or young children. Also, post signage announcing it’s an electric fence might be required depending on where you live.
4. Motion-Activated SprinklersA motion-activated sprinkler is a harmless but effective way to get coyotes to leave your property. They work by startling the coyotes, making them believe there is something dangerous in the area. By placing them along the border of your yard, the coyote will essentially be “attacked” as soon as they get too close.
Ideally, you want a motion-activated sprinkler with a pretty powerful spray. That creates a more noticeable impact, which can be more effective in making your yard seem dangerous.
Just be aware that the sprinklers will also scare off other animals. Additionally, if you have pets that go into that part of your yard, they’ll encounter them as well.
5. Motion-Sensing Coyote AlarmsIf you live in a rural area and don’t mind loud sounds, motion-sensing coyote alarms are another option. With these, they emit a loud sound when a large enough animal approaches, often not unlike an airhorn. They typically startle the coyote, making it believe there’s unseen danger.
If loud noise isn’t an option, you can look for phantom deterrents. They emit large predator sounds – like noises commonly associated with cougars – at random intervals. When coyotes hear the noise, they might believe that the predator it mimics is nearby, causing them to flee for their safety.
6. Motion-Activated LightsMotion-activated lights are a reasonable option if you have a smaller yard you need to protect. Since they turn on unexpectedly, they can frighten coyotes. Plus, it may leave the coyote feeling exposed, putting it on edge and making your property seem too risky.
For larger properties, motion-activated lights may be less effective. Typically, the range is limited. In time, a coyote may figure out how to avoid the lights, allowing them to traverse your property simply by sticking to the shadows.
Also, this isn’t ideal in residential areas where others may be bothered by flashing lights. While you can potentially offset this by installing the lights lower to the ground, it may be best to use an alternative deterrent.
7. Guard Dogs, Donkeys, or Llamas
While coyotes are predators, they typically won’t go after something that greatly outsizes them if they’re alone. As a result, getting a guard dog could be enough to keep an errant coyote at bay.
Additionally, guard dogs can protect livestock if you have any. The same is true of donkeys and llamas. Often, donkeys and llamas will aggress a coyote. Along with rushing the coyote to scare it away, their kicks are powerful, which can lead a coyote to leave.
Just be aware that if you go with llamas or donkeys, you want to limit the number you have if protecting other livestock is the goal. Otherwise, the llamas or donkeys may form their own herd, making them less concerned about what happens to the other animals.
8. Wolf or Mountain Lion UrineCoyotes are predators, but they aren’t apex predators. As a result, they don’t tend to stay in areas where other larger predators live. Since urine is used to mark territory, that means certain predator urines can deter coyotes.
Which predator urine you’ll want to use depends on where you live. It’s best to select one that aligns with predators that are in your area, as that scent is likely familiar to the coyotes. You may need either wolf or mountain lion urine as a result.
Just keep in mind that predator urines have an unpleasant odor. Since that’s the case, it’s often best to use these on the edges of your property and only if you live in rural areas. Also, pet dogs may roll in predator urine, so it’s not the best choice if you have a dog.
9. AmmoniaAmmonia releases a potent odor that can deter coyotes.
While you’ll need to refresh them regularly, placing ammonia-soaked rags around your property may keep coyotes from crossing into your yard.
You can also try a spray if you prefer.
However, the longevity is even shorter with this approach, so you’ll have to reapply often to keep coyotes away long-term.
10. MothballsLike ammonia, mothballs have a strong scent that many animals dislike. By setting some up around the border of your yard, you may be able to keep coyotes from entering your property.
Usually, mothballs are only effective for a short period, so you’d need to replace them regularly. Additionally, it’s critical to know that they’re potentially harmful to people and pets. Don’t use them in residential areas or if you have outdoor pets or small children.
11. Vinegar-Filled Water Guns
Vinegar-filled water guns work for two reasons. One, vinegar has a strong smell that many animals find unpleasant. In some cases, exposure to the scent can be enough to get a coyote to leave, particularly if a lot of vinegar is used.
Second, vinegar-filled water guns allow you to aggress a coyote without the risk of causing actual harm. While getting hit with the spray is startling, it won’t cause injury. By repeatedly spraying toward the coyote, they’ll usually decide to leave, believing they’re in danger.
As a bonus, vinegar isn’t harmful to people or pets. However, it can damage plants, so it isn’t a solid choice if you need a pristine lawn or have food-bearing plants in your garden you’d prefer not to harm.
If you see a coyote nearby, hazing can be an effective tactic that essentially causes them to view your property as potentially dangerous. With hazing, you make loud noises, such as by shouting or banging a pan with a metal spoon. You can also use an airhorn for noise.
Additionally, you want to make yourself seem larger. Waving your arms can be a simple strategy, though you can also wave a jacket or similar item.
Throwing rocks and sticks is another smart move. Again, it’s about coming across as a threat. You don’t have to hit the coyotes. Instead, just throw them in their general direction.
As you start the hazing process, keep an eye on the coyote. Don’t retreat unless you see signs of heightened aggression or disease. Instead, stand firm until the coyote leaves.
If the coyote starts to head away from the property and then stops to look back, advance and continue the hazing process. Stick with it until the coyote finally decides to fully exit your property and doesn’t seem intent on turning around.
13. Cayenne PepperMany animals don’t like cayenne pepper, and that includes coyotes. Cayenne pepper acts as an irritant, bothering eyes and nasal passages. Applying it to various parts of your yard, it can potentially encourage coyotes to leave.
One drawback to this option is that it’s costly to use in a large area. You can mix the cayenne with water to create a spray, leading to wider dispersal. However, this approach is typically best only if you have a smaller yard or want to protect a small space.
Additionally, cayenne pepper may bother your pets. If you have outdoor animals, consider using another approach.
14. Perfume or Cologne
Since coyotes have an incredibly strong sense of smell, potent perfumes or colognes may keep them away from your property. Sometimes, they’ll steer clear just because the scent is overwhelming. Coyotes in more urban zones might also associate the scent with people, which could cause them to leave an area.
The perfume or cologne approach is a bit cumbersome to use, as most cologne and perfume bottles only do small spritzes. However, you can try applying it to rags and positioning those around the property.
Like many sprays, you’ll need to reapply the perfume or cologne regularly. It’s also critical to note that this isn’t ideal for large areas, as the cost is potentially higher than many alternative deterrents.
15. Homemade Coyote Repellent
There are several recipes for homemade coyote repellent that are worth trying. Some use some of the items listed above, such as vinegar and cayenne pepper. However, regardless of the ingredients, most are cost-effective and simple to make.
One option is to chop up one onion and one jalapeno. Boil it in enough water to fill a spray bottle for 20 minutes, stirring in around two tablespoons of cayenne. Remove the water from the heat, let it cool, and then strain it before putting it in the spray bottle.
Another homemade spray uses one gallon of water, one cup of liquid dish soap, and one cup of castor oil. Combine the ingredients, mix well, and put it in a spray bottle.
You can also combine white vinegar and Tabasco sauce. Usually, one or two tablespoons of Tabasco for a spray bottle is enough. Simply put it in a spray bottle, fill the rest with white vinegar, shake to combine, and spray.
How to Scare Coyotes Away
In most cases, your best bet for scaring coyotes away is the hazing approach described above. It makes you seem a legitimate threat, and most coyotes would rather avoid larger animals that may cause them harm.
If you’d like, you can also build a coyote shaker. Place pennies inside a metal can – like a soda or smaller coffee can – seal it up with duct tape. Once you do that, you have a rattle that produces a loud noise that often scares coyotes off.
For proactively scaring coyotes away, large predator urine is often the simplest way to make your property seem dangerous. Combine that with threatening deterrents like motion-activated sprinklers and alarms, and your yard or home may come across as scarier, keeping the coyotes away.
What to Do If Coyotes Are Near Your House?
If you see coyotes near your house, hazing is usually your best pet. Make loud noises and throw small objects near the coyotes to get them to back away. You can also spray them with a hose if you have one nearby.
For a coyote that seems ill or overly aggressive, don’t haze the coyote. Instead, contact your local authorities – such as your police department or department of natural resources – or the animal control office. Make sure your pets remain safely inside until the authorities can address the risk.
What Smell Keeps Coyotes Away?
Several smells may keep coyotes from coming onto your property. White vinegar is a low-cost, effective scent-based deterrent. It isn’t harmful to people or pets, though dogs and cats likely won’t appreciate the smell.
Wolf or mountain lion urine scents give coyotes pause as they fear a larger predator is in the area. Cayenne pepper is an irritant, so most coyotes dislike that smell, too.
The scent given off by ammonia and mothballs are similarly unpleasant to coyotes. Since certain perfumes and colognes are quite strong, that odor may also cause coyotes to remain out of a particular area.
However, for any scent-based deterrents to work, they have to be strong, and they must stay on or around your property for a notable amount of time. Usually, that means relying on saturated rags or sprays to cover the zones you want coyotes to avoid.
Additionally, you’ll usually need to reapply after it rains. During a storm, the rain can wash the scent away, so it won’t be strong enough to discourage coyotes from coming into your yard or near your home.
Will Human Urine Keep Coyotes Away?
Many people have heard that human urine can keep animals like coyotes away. However, there’s little evidence that it’s an effective option.
Usually, predator urine works because coyotes associate it with a potential threat. That association isn’t necessarily there with human urine, as while they may view humans as possibly dangerous, they aren’t as concerned about people as they are about large predators. Since that’s the case, they may ignore the smell if something enticing is nearby, like a tasty meal.
Additionally, the smell of human urine isn’t as potent – on average – as what many large predators produce. Even with a strong sense of smell, there may not be enough odor to keep the coyote away purely because it’s unpleasant.
Since that’s the case, it’s best not to rely on human urine if coyotes are a problem. Instead, go with another deterrent.
The Best Way to Keep Coyotes Out of Your Yard
When it comes to keeping coyotes away, the best option is usually a mix of deterrents and barriers. Having a fence that meets the requirements above while removing food sources is effective, as well as using options like motion-activated sprinklers. Couple that with scent-based deterrents like vinegar or predator urine, and your property is far less welcoming in the eyes of coyotes.
Did you learn everything you want to know about how to keep coyotes away from your home and yard? If so, let us know in the comments. Also, if you know anyone trying to keep coyotes off their property, share the article.