It’s hard to imagine these gaunt, shabby-looking El Paso coyotes being a menace to anything other than chickens. But, recent attacks on children in Texas and California have people wondering if coyote attacks are something to be concerned about.

These cases happened in just one week and locations over a thousand miles apart. In the California incident, a toddler was attacked next to the Huntington Beach pier.

A coyote attacked a 2-year-old boy on his front porch in the same week. That mauling left the boy in critical condition (he is expected to recover fully, but the injuries were severe).

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Coyotes are abundant in El Paso and its surrounding environs. KTSM, the local NBC affiliate in El Paso, recently ran a story of tips on avoiding and fending off a coyote attack.

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Some of the expert’s anti-coyote tips include:

-Making noise will usually scare off a coyote

- If chased by a coyote, don’t run

- If you see a coyote during the day, be extra cautious

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Most of the coyotes around El Paso have been of the small, malnourished variety. Pathetic looking, really. I’ve never seen a “pack” of coyotes. In fact, I’ve never seen more than one coyote at a time. Most of them look like they’re within a day or two of starving to death which, experts warn, could make them more, not less, dangerous.

Until about four months ago, there was a lovely, healthy-looking coyote that would hang out, during broad daylight, on the fairways of the Painted Dunes golf course in Northeast El Paso.

The system has a notice posted about “not feeding the wildlife,” but this coyote would follow you (at a cautious distance). I know many golfers would oblige with a piece of hot dog or the last bite of a burrito.

This particular animal never acted aggressively and wouldn’t let you get closer than about 15 feet. I haven’t seen this one in several months, but I hope she’s doing O.K.

In 2021 several Upper Valley residents complained about coyote attacks on their dogs, and in 2020 an El Paso woman reported that her dog was attacked in her own backyard.

Experts also have some advice on keeping coyotes away from your home:

-bright lights discourage coyotes

-put your small pets inside at night

-don’t feed the coyotes (it just encourages them to come back)

-don’t leave pet food out at night

If all else fails and you can’t get rid of a bothersome coyote, I recommend painting a fake tunnel on the side of a mountain. The coyote will naturally think it’s a tunnel and try to run into it, only to be flattened by a locomotive. I’ve seen it work dozens of times.

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