Coyotes may seem to be cute and harmless, and most people would not have a problem with them being around their premises. But don’t be deceived by their looks because they can be quite annoying and dangerous than your usual pests.
Coyotes belong to the family of dogs, and they are believed to be the primary carrier of rabies, other deadly viruses, and disease-causing pathogens. Coyotes are diurnal animals, but they don’t dwell much into human settlements during the day and comes only during the night. This makes coyotes a threat to poultry and small pets like cats and small dogs.
Coyotes don’t become a regular presence in your neighborhood one fine day. Instead they do a lot of recons before they decide to be frequent visitors. You must find out about a coyote becoming a regular presence in your neighborhood before they become a headache.
Since coyotes belong to the family of dogs, it is not easy to identify them with their paw marks. The only reliable way is to identify them from their poop.
So, what does coyote poop look like? Coyote poop or droppings are mostly tubular with tapered ends. Each dropping may be up to 4 inches long and 1 inch in diameter. It is important to note that the color and appearance of a coyote poop may vary with climate depending on the food they eat. Coyote scat might appear dark in winter and bright in summer.
In this article, we will have a look into how one can identify a coyote by its poop, their popping behaviors, how to clear off the coyote poop safely, and a lot of other important things.
The pooping behavior of a coyote
Coyotes are found to show mixed behavior when it comes to pooping. They are, in fact, territorial animals ready to defend the core areas of their den, which is why most coyotes can be seen pooping in the middle of trails or in the border of their territories to mark their presence.
This explains why you find a lot of poop scattered here and there inside your compound, especially when you have a pet dog. The coyote is trying to convey the message that both you and your dog are living in its territory.
Coyotes can also be seen to identify a latrine spot inside your yard, similar to raccoons. In such cases, the coyotes will always come back to the same spot to poop. In short, you are going to have to deal with a lot of coyote shit!
What does coyote poop look like?
Coyote poop looks similar to a dog’s droppings. A coyote dropping is mostly tubular with tapered ends. Each dropping may be up to four inches long and one inch in diameter.
It is important to note that coyotes are omnivorous animals and, most importantly, opportunistic hunters. Their feeding habits vary greatly with climate and, consequently, the availability of food.
During winter, their poop tends to be dark in color and contains a lot of furs giving it a rope-like appearance. Similarly, you can also find a lot of bone fragments in their poop during winter.
This is not quite the case in summer, where their droppings tend to be lighter in color due to their vegan diet. Since summer berries and other fruits are abundant, coyotes stick to this diet resulting in their poop to be bright in color. Apart from this, fur content will be less or absent in the poop.
How to identify a coyote poop?
As mentioned in the previous sections, a coyote poop resembles that of a dog’s dropping. The best way to identify a coyote poop is to closely examine it.
During winter, see if the poop is dark in color and has a lot of fur in it. Then using a stick closely examine the poop and see whether there are any bone fragments in it because coyotes eat meat during winter.
During summer, see if the poop appears bright and there should hardly be any fur on the poop. Carefully examine the poop with a stick to see if there are any seeds or berries in the poop as coyotes eat berries and other fruits during summer.
Diet of a coyote
Coyotes are omnivorous animals, and their diet greatly depends on the availability of food. For instance, during summer, when berries and other fruits are abundant, they stick on to a vegan diet. Whereas, during winter, when there are hardly any fruits, they hunt small animals and birds.
Is coyote poop dangerous?
Coyotes are considered a threat not only because of their invasive nature but because of the deadly pathogens, bacteria, and viruses they carry. Among the many threats, the prominent one is tapeworm eggs they carry and transmit.
In a study conducted on coyotes, it was found out that one out of every four coyotes had tapeworms or tapeworm eggs in them. These tapeworms inside a coyote produce eggs that come out through the coyote’s poop. These eggs hatch inside the poop, and they begin to multiply rapidly, which makes coyote poop a threat to a healthy ecology.
If you have pets at home, they are the most vulnerable to tapeworm infection. Pets, especially dogs, have a habit of sniffing around. These tapeworm eggs in the coyote poop are so light weighted that when your dog sniffs the poop, the eggs can get inside the dog’s body and hatch. This can be fatal to your dog.
Apart from this, there is a good chance for these tapeworm eggs inside the coyote poop to infect humans. This happens when we come in direct contact with the poop through an open wound or contaminated sources of water.
These tapeworms, once they hatch inside our body, can cause severe medical conditions and even death in the worst case. This is why you need to be extremely careful while handling a coyote’s poop.
Is it true that coyote poop can kill you?
Yeah, coyote poop contains many harmful bacteria, viruses, and pathogens that can prove to be deadly to humans. As mentioned in the previous section, coyote poop contains deadly tapeworm eggs.
Say you come in direct contact with these tapeworm eggs through an open wound in your body or by drinking water contaminated with coyote poop.
These eggs will get inside your system before they hatch and spread. The reaction to this infection may vary concerning where these eggs hatch inside your body.
For instance, when these eggs hatch inside your intestine, the newly born tapeworm will attach itself to the intestinal walls. They then lay eggs, and slowly over the years, they begin multiplying inside your intestine, causing severe intestinal infection.
Depending upon the severity of infection, you may even have to undergo open surgery. In some cases, these eggs can get out of the intestine and form larval cysts in body tissues and organs.
These infections are called invasive larval infection and can be deadly. These larval cysts can cause severe headaches, cystic masses, lumps, an allergic reaction, and neurological infections or seizures.
Step by step guide on removing coyote feces
Now that you have an idea of how dangerous coyote poop can be, you should be extremely careful while handling it. Always make sure that you clear off the coyote poop from your property ASAP with utmost care.
If you plan on cleaning the poop by yourself, follow these steps to ensure safety.
- Make sure that you wear a disposable glove, a boot covered in disposable material, and an N-95 grade respirator. Incinerate the glove and the disposable material covering your boot after use.
- Sprinkle hot water over the coyote poop, if it has become dry. We don’t want the tapeworm eggs flying around.
- Use a shovel to remove the poop from the ground and torch it using a flame before clearing off. Setting the poop on fire can kill the tapeworm eggs in the poop, and it is the advisable way to dispose of the coyote poop.
- Disinfect the area first with boiled water and then use a disinfectant. This is done to ensure that no tapeworm egg remains where the poop was.
- Clean your hands using hot water and disinfectant.
Apart from this, it is advisable to wash the clothes you used while cleaning separately. First, clean it in hot water and rinse it thoroughly with a detergent. Let it dry in the sun for a longer period.
How to keep coyotes away?
Coyotes, over the years, have become very intelligent and have adapted themselves to their new environment. They aren’t anything like other common invasive pests, and keeping them away is not an easy feat to achieve.
- Do not feed the coyotes at any cost. Don’t even think about throwing them a piece of the snack you are eating.
- Make sure that you secure the garbage bin in your property with a lid.
- Eliminate food sources liked by coyote inside your property.
- Spray a pepper repellent.
- Use high fencing if you live near the woods.