Coyotes may look so much like dogs. But like wolves, they are just as wild. They have a strong sense of smell, a keen vision and can prey voraciously on rabbits, fish, frogs, rodents, deer, and even common livestock like lambs, calves, and pets. Now, if they are capable of all these, can you own a coyote as a pet? Even if they later become your pets, can you perhaps befriend a coyote-like you would dog? Well.. in this article, we’ve compiled succinct answers for you. Just do well to read along, okay?
Can You Befriend A Wild Coyote?
The most probable thing that can happen when a coyote sees you is that it runs. This is because generally, wild coyotes are afraid of humans. As such, they tend to do their best to avoid us. You can even hasten this process by throwing something sharp in their direction. Although in recent times, coyotes are learning to become braver around humans and in the areas we inhabit.
Now, if a wild coyote runs when it sees you, can you still befriend one? Well… with food in your hand, you can use it as a key motivator to attract a coyote’s love, just like in any other animal. That’s because when coyotes begin to associate you with food, they tend to be more relaxed around you. This is an early domestication stage that gets better with correct classical conditioning.
Unfortunately, acclimatizing coyotes with humans is a dangerous thing; not only for us and our families but for the coyotes as well. And with reasons. You see, coyotes tend to become a nuisance around the property of the person feeding them. This is because they would always come back for more. And when they do, and you are not available to satisfy them, they begin to build confidence to attack pets, stored foods, or children in other homes.
Of course, this is risky for the coyote because other people would begin to think of them as pests. With efforts to drive these dangerous critters away, these people may harm or even kill them. But despite all these risks, some people have managed to befriend wild coyotes. One good example of such a case happened with a dog trainer named Seth Simpson, from Idaho. However, he didn’t do it by feeding the wild coyotes as many have tried before.
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Can Coyotes Be Domesticated?
Yes, we know that coyotes are very social animals. They have a complex audio communication system within their packs. And they can be very loyal to their groups, much like a dog would be to its owner. But then again, let’s clear this off the air first; coyotes can attack humans because they have some natural and wild instincts in their encoding. Although oftentimes, it’s a rare thing to witness.
As such, humans can take coyotes in as a family. And surprisingly, few people have managed to tame them. Though, many of these pets often get chained up in their backyards for many reasons. For one, unlike dogs, coyotes behave in many ways that clash with the expectations of correct behavior within our homes.
Sometimes, they can be gentle. At other times, they can be extremely alert since they are not as docile as our domestic dogs. So, when they’re kept within small, confined spaces or in the house, they tend to go nuts; breaking everything they see.
Then again, coyotes, even when habituated, don’t really bond with their “owners” the same way we’re used to dogs. So, we can expect them to make less of our run-of-the-mill pets in general. But in a nutshell, proper training can help domesticate or rather, tame a coyote. Difficult, though; but not impossible. And there are many ways to breed a domesticated or tamed coyote.
What is the Easiest Way to Domesticate Coyotes?
A rule of thumb to tame any animal is to catch them young. And coyotes are no exceptions. So, the most recommended strategy to best them is to start the process with their juveniles; young puppies. As time goes by, the pups may grow up to adults that end up being receptive to humans.
However, some experts agree that domesticating coyotes isn’t simply a matter of raising them as a puppy. This is because their wild instincts are sure to kick in certain cases like seeing a rabbit or the family cat running away. So, even by taming them at their pup stage, coyotes are still coyotes. And we can say a few things like this about the long-domesticated dogs, as well.
So, according to these experts, the best way to tame coyotes is to breed them in captivity from the very start. To do this, you have to mate one of the animals with a dog. Afterward, you can then domesticate the puppy with much easier training than taming a wild coyote. However, this method works best when you are already a proud owner of a female dog or can get a close friend that has one.
Now, take this home; it’s one thing to tame coyotes. It’s another thing to make them man-best-friends, like dogs.
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As said earlier, coyotes are best tamed when young. It is possible to bring a coyote pup into the home, and help it adapt to living with humans. But then, to raise a coyote pup (at any age for that matter), you’ll need patience, understanding, and a lot of both. You would need to understand that their coyotes have a wildling-wired brain. As a result, they can’t suddenly begin to think like pets yet.
However, you can start the coyote domestication process with baby steps like keeping them far from dogs, rabbits, and other domestic animals. Then, you can start by changing their voracious diet little by little, adding less meat and more plant diets. This might take a while, of course. So, while doing that, you can start acclimatization training with dogs. But then, all these would be too much for amateurs. So, the best thing to do is to just consult a trainer.
Now, while raising a pup might seem like a cool idea you’d love to try out, certain risks can’t be neglected. You see, coyotes, whether old or young, often come with diseases like rabies. Rabies, as we all know, is bad news for many domestic animals, especially dogs.
Aside from that, coyotes that eventually bond with their owners are still instinctual sometimes. This is why some of the domesticated ones even tend to be nervous around other humans, causing them to react defensively. But compared to older and wild pups, home-bred and young coyotes might bring fewer problems for you.
Sometimes, fully grown coyotes tend to look almost identical to 5-month-old wolves. That mix-up alone can take the already difficult taming process to a whole different level. So, you see now; that it’s not that you can’t tame a coyote pup, there are just so many domestic issues surrounding it. This is exactly why it’s better to just go with dogs instead of the exotic coyotes.
Do Coyotes Make Good Pets?
Yes, but a few. And here is a brief list of the two most popular ones that went well:
- Hailey Hanestad and Wiley, the Family Coyote.
Hailey is an eight-year-old girl in Wisconsin. The name of her coyote pet is Wiley which was rescued by Hailey’s dad, Rick, a few years ago. Together, they formed so much bond that Hailey would even doze off with him on her bed. Oftentimes, she takes him howling during the evenings.
In fact, Wiley’s treated just like a dog. In winter, he always sits by the fire, goes for walks, and even plays throw-and-fetch with a tennis ball. Not only that, Wiley has his own comfy chair and enjoys a diet of venison, fried eggs, and cooked meat because he won’t eat it raw. Now, if that’s not a picture of domestic bliss, we don’t know what else is.
- Seth Simpson and his Idaho Coyote Named Kate.
Kate always wears a handsome leather collar and likes to curl up on Seth Simpson’s bed. There, Kate, the coyote pet, would hide under the cover of the night till the next morning. By then, she would take turns to wrestle with Simpson’s dogs in friendly matches.
However, Kate wasn’t always Simpson’s coyote pet. Instead, she was actually a baby when Simpson, who had always wanted to own a coyote since he was a child, found her all alone in a den somewhere inside the Idaho desert. Back then, Kate was just about six weeks old. But today, both Kate and Simpson live happily ever after.
Can You Own a Coyote in the United States?
The probability that you would find pet coyotes outside zoos is quite low. This is not only because they are wild. It’s also because you would need a couple of licenses to own one, even if it’s for an educational purpose. In some countries, you can’t even own a single coyote at all. But then again, few owners do exist.
So, it’s always nice to know whether or not your state allows coyote pets so that owning or even buying them won’t land you behind bars. If you seek answers well, you’ll find that the legality of owning a coyote depends on several factors, one of which usually involves at least three levels of legality, depending on the state. So, yes, you can own one. But in some states, you need some kind of permit. In others, you can’t.
Not only that, the legality in different states depends on several factors. In some states, they consider whether or not your coyote is a resident animal and whether or not it can later become a pest. In some other states, they would ask whether your coyote is a game species or not. If it is, it’s a no, no for certain reasons like the health issue the creature can pose to us, humans.
However, some states do allow their game hunters to take down a coyote because they consider coyotes nuisance animals. That tag alone often deters people from owning one as a pet because it’s illegal there. I’m some other states, they allow private individuals to own one. But you must always let the authorities know where it is at all times. As such, your first calls to owning a coyote pet should be to your state DNR and city hall. There, you can get the full requirements about coyote regulations in your area.
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List of Regulations about Coyote Pets from the Different States.
Texas lists coyotes as “dangerous animals”, alongside cougars, lions, and baboons, just to name a few. These animals can be owned, but you will need a license. Then, in places like Harris County, your coyote can’t be kept within 1,000 feet of a school, a childcare facility, or any residence besides yours. Also, if your coyote has babies, you must notify the authorities within 30 days.
In Tennessee, the government does not specifically mention coyotes in any way. But then, the owner must be above 21 and have at least 2 years of experience in handling wolves, dogs, and coyotes. Not only that but you must also be equipped and willing to destroy your pet if it escapes and it proves too difficult to capture.
In Florida, coyotes are placed as Class II animals. That means you can keep them with a permit. However, you need to be 18+. Then again you need to demonstrate at least one year of experience with coyotes. Spoiler alert though; this may require you to take an exam. Not only that, you must always notify the authorities of all births and deaths.
In Kentucky, owning a coyote can land you behind bars. In fact, even if you are a legal owner in another state, it’s illegal in Kentucky for you to import or move your pet through Kentucky.
- Ohio and Oregon.
In both Oregon and Ohio, you can’t own many exotic pets. But somehow, coyotes weren’t mentioned or classified. Yet, we are not sure whether they consider coyotes dangerous or not. So, you might need to get a permit or a suggestion from a state expert before adopting coyotes from the wild.
California people recognize coyotes as welfare animals. So, permits may be issued for ownership. Though, you have to treat them within animal welfare rights.
And with that said, let’s cap things off in a nutshell. Currently, coyotes and humans are learning to coexist in harmony. But then, these animals still have their wild instincts. To own them as pets, contact your local authorities on pets first. And always remember to stay safe around your coyote pet if it’s allowed.