20 States Where Coyotes Are Thriving: Sightings Increasing

Coyotes, those wily and adaptable creatures famously depicted in folklore and cartoons, are not just surviving in the United States—they’re absolutely thriving! From urban centers to rural expanses, these resilient animals have expanded their range across the nation.

But where are they really setting the gold standard for survival and expansion? Here are the top 20 states where coyotes are more than just making do—they’re ruling the roost.

1. California: Where Coyotes Meet Hollywood

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California offers diverse habitats for coyotes, from the lush Central Valley to the sprawling urban areas like Los Angeles, where they roam parks and even residential neighborhoods.

With their numbers on the rise, coyotes in California often find themselves at the center of wildlife management discussions. Their adaptability has led to increased interactions with humans, sparking debates on how best to coexist with these savvy survivors.

2. Arizona: Desert Dwellers Redefined

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Arizona’s deserts and forested highlands provide ideal conditions for coyotes. Their presence in areas like the Sonoran Desert highlights their ability to thrive in harsh conditions, where water is scarce and temperatures soar.

In cities like Phoenix and Tucson, coyotes have become a common sight. Their ability to navigate the challenges of urban environments, from crossing roads to finding food, is a testament to their ingenuity and survival skills.

3. Texas: Coyotes on the Range

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Texas is a hotbed for coyote activity, thanks to its vast rural areas and burgeoning city outskirts. Coyotes are often seen in agricultural lands, where they control the population of rodents and other pests.

In urban centers like Dallas and Houston, coyotes have been spotted more frequently. Their presence in these areas has prompted city officials to implement educational programs to teach residents about safe coexistence with these wild neighbors.

4. Colorado: High Altitude Hideouts

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Colorado’s rocky terrain and wooded areas are perfect for coyotes. The state’s national parks and suburban backyards offer shelter and abundant food sources, aiding in their population growth.

Colorado’s coyotes are not just surviving; they’re thriving by adapting to seasonal changes and human developments with remarkable flexibility. Their ability to adjust to different ecosystems within the state is a clear indicator of their evolutionary success.

5. Nevada: Coyotes of the Silver State

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Nevada’s expansive desert landscapes serve as a playground for coyotes. The state’s low human population density outside of major cities like Las Vegas gives coyotes plenty of room to roam and multiply.

Even in the bustling city of Las Vegas, coyotes have carved out a niche for themselves. Their presence in residential and commercial areas highlights their capability to adapt to varied environments.

6. New Mexico: The Land of Enchantment’s Canine Conquerors

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In New Mexico, coyotes benefit from the mixed terrains of high desert and mountainous areas. The state’s rural nature provides a steady supply of natural prey, helping to sustain and increase coyote numbers.

Coyotes hold a place in Native American folklore and are often seen as symbols of cunning and survival. This cultural significance helps promote a more harmonious coexistence with humans, even as their numbers grow.

7. Utah: Coyotes of the Crossroads of the West

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Utah’s diverse ecosystems, from the Great Basin to the Wasatch Range, are ideal for coyotes. These environments support a healthy coyote population by offering abundant prey and varied shelters.

As urban areas in Utah expand, so does the interface with coyote habitats. In places like Salt Lake City, coyotes are regular visitors, prompting discussions on urban wildlife management and human-coyote interactions.

8. Wyoming: Wilderness Wanderers

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In Wyoming, coyotes roam freely across wide-open landscapes and dense forests. The state’s low human population density means less competition for space and more opportunities for coyotes to flourish.

Coyotes in Wyoming often interact with other wildlife species, playing a critical role in the ecosystem by controlling the populations of smaller mammals and impacting the food chain dynamics.

9. Montana: Masters of the Big Sky

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Montana’s vast prairies and mountainous regions are a paradise for coyotes. Their ability to adapt to both cold climates and open grasslands has helped their populations to not just survive but thrive.

Coyotes in Montana are considered key players in maintaining ecological balance. Their hunting habits help keep rodent populations in check, which benefits agricultural and natural areas alike.

10. Oregon: Pioneers in the Pacific Northwest

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Oregon’s thick forests and coastal areas provide a lush habitat for coyotes. These adaptable animals take advantage of the state’s rich biodiversity, which supports a robust and growing population.

In urban areas like Portland, coyotes are becoming a common fixture. Their ability to navigate the challenges of living close to humans while maintaining their wild nature is fascinating to wildlife experts and city dwellers alike.

11. Washington: Evergreen Adventurers

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Washington’s mix of dense forests and urban sprawl creates a perfect habitat mosaic for coyotes. They thrive in both remote areas and the outskirts of cities like Seattle, where they find plenty of food and shelter.

Washington state has active conservation programs aimed at understanding and managing coyote populations. These efforts help mitigate conflicts and promote a healthier coexistence between humans and coyotes.

12. Idaho: Rocky Mountain Refugees

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Idaho’s rugged landscapes are ideal for coyotes, offering them ample space to roam and a variety of prey. The state’s agricultural regions also provide coyotes with alternative food sources, helping their numbers to increase.

In Idaho, coyotes play a significant role in controlling the populations of small mammals and birds, which helps maintain the ecological equilibrium. Their presence is vital for the health of Idaho’s ecosystems.

13. Nebraska: The Great Plains Guardians

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Nebraska’s rolling plains are a haven for coyotes, providing them with extensive hunting grounds and minimal human interference. This setting allows them to thrive and maintain stable populations.

While sometimes seen as pests, coyotes in Nebraska actually help control populations of rodents and other small animals that can damage crops. This makes them beneficial partners in agricultural management, although their reputation among farmers is mixed.

In Nebraska, the dynamic between coyotes and other wildlife species is essential for maintaining the ecological balance. By preying on various small mammals, coyotes help prevent overpopulation and the subsequent strain on local vegetation, which is crucial for the health of the habitat.

14. Kansas: Heartland Howlers

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Kansas, with its vast prairies, offers perfect conditions for coyotes. These areas provide not only shelter but also abundant prey, such as rabbits and small rodents, which are staples in the coyote diet.

As human populations encroach on their territories, coyotes in Kansas have learned to navigate the landscapes of both rural and urban settings, often leading to mixed reactions from the human communities they enter.

15. South Dakota: Badlands Stealth Seekers

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The rugged terrain of South Dakota’s Badlands and its expansive grasslands offer coyotes a wide range of environments to inhabit. These areas are rich in biodiversity, supporting a healthy coyote population.

Coyotes in South Dakota interact with a variety of other wildlife, playing a pivotal role in the local ecosystem by keeping smaller predator and prey populations in check.

16. Oklahoma: Sooner State Scouts

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Oklahoma’s mix of prairie, mountains, and forest ecosystems makes it an ideal location for coyotes. The state provides a rich array of habitats that are perfect for these adaptable canines.

With cities like Oklahoma City expanding into traditional coyote territories, these animals have become more visible within urban areas, adapting quickly to changes in their environment.

17. Missouri: Show-Me State Stalkers

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Missouri offers a blend of forests and grassy plains that serve as excellent habitats for coyotes. The state’s river valleys and agricultural fields also provide ample food sources and shelter.

In Missouri, the coyote population is robust and growing thanks to its ability to adapt to both urban and rural settings. Conservationists and the general public are increasingly noting its presence.

18. Iowa: Cornfield Cavaliers

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Iowa’s landscape is dominated by fields and forests, providing a plentiful and varied environment for coyotes. The state’s agricultural practices also lead to a bounty of food opportunities.

As interactions increase, Iowa has implemented educational programs to help residents understand how to live safely and respectfully alongside the growing coyote population.

19. Illinois: Prairie Prowlers in the Urban Jungle

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Illinois, particularly the areas surrounding Chicago, has seen a significant rise in coyote sightings. These animals have adapted to urban life surprisingly well, using green spaces and forest preserves to sustain their populations.

Extensive research is being conducted in Illinois to study urban coyote behavior, which helps inform wildlife management strategies and promote coexistence.

20. North Carolina: Appalachians’ Agile Residents

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In North Carolina, coyotes roam the Appalachian Mountains and the Piedmont, taking advantage of the varied landscapes. The state’s abundant wildlife provides a steady diet for these predators.

With coyotes now established across the state, North Carolina has launched initiatives to manage and conserve their populations effectively, focusing on education and non-lethal control methods.

Safety Tips for Coexistence

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As coyote populations continue to thrive across various states, it’s increasingly important for residents in these areas to understand how to coexist safely with these adaptable canines. Here are some essential safety tips:

  • Secure Food Sources: Always keep garbage cans tightly closed and avoid leaving pet food outdoors. Composting bins should also be securely covered to prevent coyotes from scavenging.
  • Protect Pets: Keep cats indoors and never let dogs out unsupervised, especially at dawn and dusk when coyotes are most active. Smaller pets should be kept on a leash and close to you during walks.
  • Fencing: Consider installing coyote-proof fencing to protect your yard and pets. This includes taller fences with a buried extension a few feet underground to prevent digging.
  • Hazing Techniques: Learn hazing techniques to scare off coyotes without harming them. This can include loud noises, waving your arms, or using water hoses.
  • Avoid Feeding Coyotes: Never feed coyotes, as this diminishes their natural fear of humans and can lead to aggressive behavior.
  • Educate Your Community: Share these tips with neighbors and your community. The more people practice these safety measures, the less likely it is that coyotes will pose a problem.
  • Keep Yards Clean: Remove brush and tall grass from around your home to reduce cover for coyotes and make your yard less attractive to them.
  • Use Motion-Sensitive Lighting: Install motion-sensitive lighting around your property to deter coyotes during the night.
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Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.