Will Coyotes Attack You In A Tent?
If you’re an avid camper or backpacker, you’ve probably heard the warning before. But just how likely is it that you might be attacked by a coyote while sleeping under the stars? We’ve broken down the facts for you here.
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How likely are you to be attacked by a coyote?
As with all animals, coyotes are curious and will investigate tents and things that people leave lying around, particularly if those things are edible or smell interesting and, by doing so this can put them into contact with people.
Attacks, by coyotes, on people are very rare and the risks to you are minimal.
By their nature coyotes are quiet animals who normally avoid humans and pets and most coyote aggression, against people, was initiated by the human interfering with the animal.
If you leave coyotes alone then it is highly unlikely that you will encounter any problems.
Are coyotes attracted to tents?
As unlikely as it seems, it’s not necessarily impossible.
Coyotes are curious by nature, which is why they will sometimes approach the dens and makeshift beds of campers and backpackers.
As any avid camper will tell you, coyotes are extremely agile. They can climb and swim quickly. Some coyotes can even climb trees to reach their prey.
One of the most frightening things about a coyote attacking a human is that you’re more likely to survive if you’re standing up. That means that you might not be so lucky if you’re sleeping.
Coyotes are typically afraid of people, but not aggressive.
Should you worry?
We’ve just been through a particularly cold and snowy winter, but this does not mean that the country’s animal populations have ceased to surprise us.
Because while it might be cold out, our country’s wildlife doesn’t necessarily hibernate — and they sometimes sleep with their eyes open.
Let’s just say this: coyotes, mountain lions, and other ungulates might be as well-adapted to life in the country as we are.
In the event that you encounter one, which is unlikely but possible (especially at night), you should avoid surprising or forcing the animal to run and go the way you want it to go.
Let the creature make the move. In other words, don’t try to fight your way out of it. If you see a coyote, you’ll want to avoid eye contact, too.
Recommended coyote repellents
What can you do to prevent coyote attacks?
If you’re using or planning to use a tent in a wilderness area with coyotes, there are a few things you can do to help prevent attacks.
If you’re going into an area where coyotes have been reported in, you can try setting up a “defensive perimeter.”
This involves checking and double checking all of your tent contents as well as making sure your camp stoves and other cooking gear is out of reach.
If you camp in an area with hiking trails, you can also try to keep them as far from your camp as possible.
A small amount of human presence is still important, so it’s important to just check the perimeter.
You can learn more about ways to deal with coyotes from the Urban Coyote Research Project.