Living with Coyotes in Our City

Steps to Keep You, Your Kids & Your Pets Safe

Coyotes are active in and around many neighborhoods in the City, and wooded areas like parks and bike trails. This posting is designed to provide information about these animals, including what to do should you find one in your neighborhood or yard.


Coyotes are related to dogs and wolves. They tend to look like a medium-sized dog that weighs 30 - 50 lbs. They are scavengers and omnivorous and will eat pretty much anything: mice, squirrels, nuts, berries, seeds; and they have been know to attack unattended small pets and children.

As their natural habitats get smaller, coyotes are finding their way into residential areas in search of food.


Dr. Numi Mitchell of the Conservation Agency based in Jamestown, RI is studying coyotes in the Narragansett Bay region and she says the reason for the uptick in coyote sightings is due to access to food sources like:

  • bird food

  • pet food

  • fruit berries

What to Do If You See a Coyote

If you come into contact with or see a coyote in your neighborhood, Dr. Mitchell recommends taking the following steps to keep children and pets safe, and to deter return visits from the coyotes:

1. Watch Your Children & Pets!

Never leave young children unattended in your yard (the same goes for small dogs) and whenever possible keep cats indoors. Coyotes are known to attack small pets and very small children.

2. Secure Food Sources!

Store garbage in wildlife-proof garbage containers and only feed your pets indoors. Don’t store pet food or bird feed outdoors where animals can get to it. Use hanging bird feeders and hang them high in trees.

3. Scare Them Away!

A coyote that displays no fear of people has most likely been fed by people. To discourage foraging or begging by a coyote in your yard or neighborhood, use what’s called a “hazing” technique by raising your arms and yelling to drive them away. These actions are designed to re-instill fear in the animal.

4. Report it!

If you do see coyotes in your neighborhood, report them to the police and to the Rhode Island Division of Fish and Wildlife at: 401-789-0281.

A fed coyote will return to a food source, so never feed or leave food out for coyotes.

Tips from Dr. Mitchell to keep you, your family, and pets safe.

Learn more about dealing with coyotes from this video from Dr. Mitchell, and from the links provided below:

Coyote FAQs →
The Humane Society →
Coyote Smarts →
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