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Can Hazing Contribute to Coyote Habituation?

August 24, 2020

My partner and I live and breathe coyotes 24/7 and have done so for many many years. We also feel that after working with these animals hands on for all those years that there is a lot of misinformation circulating about their behavior. At the very least the coyotes have not read the manual on how they are suppose to behave. Lets take a look at hazing through the coyotes eyes. Here you(coyote) are on a Friday evening wandering through a suburban neighborhood, looking for food or something to chase and all of a sudden this human comes running out of his house yelling and banging on a pan. Well, as expected this startles you a little and you run down the block and stop to collect your thoughts. It is at this point you realize that nothing serious has happened to you and you go about your business. A couple of blocks away from the last human encounter you spy a fat cat in the yard and decide, there is something fun to chase. Just when you think it’s a great idea to chase the cat, here comes another human making all sorts of noise. Down the block you go but not quite as far and not as fast as the first encounter. Check yourself over and once again see that nothing bad has happened and off you go looking for something to keep you occupied. Further in town you come across a dog that has barked at you the past couple of weeks, you decide you are going to teach him a lesson because it’s your territory. Out of the house comes a human with his noise makers but this time, since you know from past experiences, that nothing bad is going to happen to you. You stand your ground and the situation starts to get real serious for the human and his dog because you have had enough and you know that there is nothing in this situation that can hurt you. Hypothetical situation? yes.  A little humor? yes.  Do coyotes actually think like this? Probably not.   Coyotes are observation learners and rely heavily on past experiences to help them survive. The fact the habituated coyotes present the biggest safety issues to humans and their pets is well documented.        So you have to ask the question, by hazing coyotes, are we actually speeding up the habituation process?

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