Coyote howling in Lamar Valley, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Jim Peaco
Many people panic when they hear the howls and yips of their coyote neighbors. They often believe these sounds mean that they, or their pets, are in danger.
Although it’s always best to keep small pets properly contained or supervised, a howling coyote isn’t trying to announce that it’s about to attack you or anyone else.
Coyotes are around us all the time without causing us any harm. Whether you hear them or not, they are present in our neighborhoods and parks. When you hear them howl, it isn’t because they’re searching for food—they’ve been there all along, and you just happened to notice them singing.
Coyotes howl and yip to communicate with one another. A coyote may howl to bond with family, meet up with a friend or relative, or warn territorial rivals that this particular territory is taken. Like most other predators, coyotes hunt silently by stalking their prey.
Coyotes live in small family groups, typically containing just two to five individuals, but use auditory illusions to make themselves sound like a large, intimidating pack. Just one mated pair might sound like a dozen or more animals! This is one of the reasons that people are often alarmed by their calls.
Enjoy listening to your coyote neighbors as they communicate with each other.