Coyotes in Bergen County: How Dangerous Are They? When Do They Attack?

Are Coyotes Dangerous? When Do They Attack? What You Need to Know

Are coyotes dangerous? There have been multiple coyote attacks in the Bergen County area in recent years. It seems everyone has seen a coyote or knows someone who has. In Bergen County communities where coyote sightings have become increasingly common, parents of young children, pet owners and just about anyone who spends time outdoors are concerned about the potential threat coyotes present. But what do we really know about these animals?

Why We’re Seeing More Coyotes

Coyotes have become firmly established and quite comfortable in the Bergen County-North Jersey area because of their adaptable nature. They simply adjust well to their surroundings and can survive on whatever food is available. Coyotes typically feed on rodents and rabbits but will take advantage of whatever is available, including garbage, pet food and even domestic animals.

What Do Coyotes Look Like?

The coyote resembles a small German shepherd with the exception of a long snout and bushy, black-tipped tail. 

Are coyotes dangerous?
Coyote Stalking Prey
When Are You Most Likely to Encounter a Coyote?

Coyotes are generally nocturnal. However, observing a coyote by day does not mean that the coyote is sick or aggressive. If the coyote is scared away by your presence, it is exhibiting natural behavior and this should not be cause for concern. A coyote who does not run away when encountering humans has most likely become accustomed or habituated to people. This generally occurs when a coyote has been fed (in the form of handouts, pet food left outside, or unsecured garbage). This type of behavior could also be a symptom of rabies. Always keep your distance and leave the coyote alone!

Are Coyotes Dangerous? When Do Coyotes Attack?

How likely are you to be attacked when encountering a coyote? Coyotes will occasionally attack small pets. Attacks on humans are rare but do occur as we’ve experienced in recent years here in Bergen County, New Jersey. Conflicts between coyotes and humans are most likely to develop as adults forage for food for their pups in the spring and summer. A coyote who has bitten a person will have to be specifically targeted and removed from the population. Most health departments will mandate testing for rabies, which requires that the offending coyote be killed.

Click here to read more about coyotes in New Jersey.

What should you do if you encounter a bear in New Jersey? Click here to read more.