Fact or Fiction?
Native American folklore is filled with tales of the "trickster" coyote, like "How Coyote Stole Fire." Coyote earned a reputation for being a sly, sneaky predator. Stories of his adventures have been retold for hundreds of years. As a result, it is sometimes hard to tell the difference between "coyote fact" and "coyote fiction." Here are some common myths about coyotes - and some facts to help you decide whether or not they are true.
One coyote myth is that coyotes sometimes hunt human beings. This is fiction! Coyotes do not hunt human beings. In fact, coyotes are likely to be more scared of us than we are of them. They are naturally shy animals. Coyotes will only attack when they feel frightened. If you run into a coyote that comes too close, the best thing to do is stand as tall as possible, wave your arms, and make a lot of noise. Usually the coyote will run away.
Another myth about coyotes is that they always steal and eat livestock. Farmers are often anxious about coyotes attacking their animals, so they set traps and put up fences to keep them away. Many times, coyotes are blamed for damage done by dogs. In fact, coyotes rarely eat livestock unless they are injured or starving, and lacking other food to eat. Coyotes that live close to humans may struggle to find enough food in the wild. If they come across a food source such as livestock, they will attack.
Coyotes earned their place in folklore because they are smart, secretive animals. However, they can be dangerous. Human beings should never feed coyotes, or encourage them to approach. The more comfortable they get around people, the more likely coyotes are to attack. They might look similar to dogs, but coyotes should never be treated as pets. Coyotes are necessary creatures to the balance of nature. We can appreciate and respect them as beautiful, wild animals.