Can Coyotes Climb Trees?

Written by Katelynn Sobus
Published: April 14, 2023
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Coyotes can climb trees, but they typically won’t unless they’re very hungry or very afraid. Tree climbing doesn’t come easily to a coyote, but they can jump up to eight feet in the air and climb up to fourteen feet off the ground.

In this article, we’ll talk all about coyotes and tree climbing, from whether coyotes can climb trees to whether they can scale fences and how to keep them out of your yard.

Can Coyotes Climb Trees?

Coyotes can climb trees as high as 14 feet. However, coyotes typically don’t climb trees because they sleep, eat, and hunt on the ground.

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Coyotes live in dens. They hunt a variety of animals, including large mammals like deer or moose, insects, fish, small amphibians and reptiles, rodents, and birds. They also sometimes eat vegetables, fruit, or grass.

Most of their prey is found on the ground. It would be a lot of work to climb trees to catch small insects or even birds, amphibians, and reptiles. In addition, this would cause the coyotes to spend a lot of energy for very little gain, as they likely wouldn’t have full tummies afterward.

It takes motivation for coyotes to climb trees. Typically, you’ll only see it if they’re very hungry and their prey begins to climb or if they’re afraid of something, like a predator. While there are videos of coyotes climbing trees, it’s not common for them.

Coyotes can climb trees, but they typically won't unless they're very hungry or very afraid.

Coyotes can climb trees as high as 14 feet. However, they typically

don’t

climb trees, unless they are starving or terrified.

©iStock.com/GatorDawg

Can Coyotes Climb Fences?

Coyotes can climb fences — but again, they’d need motivation as this isn’t a natural movement for them. 

If you have small dogs or prey animals like chickens in your backyard, it’s important that your yard is well-secured so that this can’t happen. Don’t leave dogs, especially tiny ones, outside unattended, even if you haven’t heard of coyotes in the area.

Coyotes don’t prefer to spend a lot of time around people or our homes, but they can be pushed into human territory by deforestation or extreme hunger.

How High Can Coyotes Jump?

Coyotes can jump up to 6 to 8 feet in the air. If you’re trying to keep coyotes out of your yard or another area, it’s important to have fencing over 8 feet tall — otherwise, they can scale it easily.

Remember also to make your fencing climb-proof, or the coyotes may climb right over them.

Removing temptation is also good when possible. Don’t leave out food, especially meat. Enclose any prey animals well, or bring them inside if possible, such as in the case of rabbits or guinea pigs.

.Coyotes can jump up to 6 to 8 feet in the air.

©Keneva Photography/Shutterstock.com

How Do I Keep Coyotes Out of My Yard?

If a coyote is already in your yard, you’ll need to scare them away. This might also stop them from wanting to come back in the future.

Make yourself large, intimidating, and loud. Wave your hands in the air and shout, but make sure not to get close to the coyote. Remember that fear can instigate both flight and fight!

Walking toward the coyote can also help so long as you stay at a safe distance.

You can also invest in the following deterrents for when coyotes are in the yard:

  • Whistle
  • Air horn
  • Any other loud noisemakers
  • Squirt gun
  • Garden hose

If the coyote is near your dog or another pet, especially on leash or with you nearby, pepper spray or tossing things in the coyote’s direction can help scare them off. Try not to hit the coyote and injure them unless necessary for protection.

To keep coyotes out of your yard preemptively:

  • Remove temptations. Don’t leave food out in the open. Keep your garbage secured with a tight lid. If you have small prey animals like guinea pigs or rabbits, keep them indoors only.
  • Invest in tall, unscalable fencing. Remember that coyotes can jump over eight feet tall! Your fence should also be climb-proof, either by using the right material or by using something like a coyote roller.
  • Install lighting. Automatic lighting can scare away coyotes who wander onto your property at night.

Don’t run away from coyotes, and don’t feed them. Though it may seem mean to let them go hungry, it’s crueler to lure them into human territory with a high chance that they’ll be killed for it.

Other Canines That Climb

While coyotes can climb, they aren’t well-suited to this activity. Some canines are better at climbing and can climb a tree more easily.

These include gray foxes, dholes, and raccoon dogs. The following domestic dogs can also climb trees: the Catahoula Leopard Dog, Tree Walking Coonhound, New Guinea Singing Dog, Parson Russell Terrier, Belgian Malinois, Phu Quoc Ridgeback, and Chihuahua.

Yes — Chihuahua! These pups were actually known for climbing trees gracefully back in the day. Now, though, many Chihuahuas wouldn’t bother. Instead, they’d rather be spoiled housepets.

Chihuahua (Canis familiaris) - chihuahua running in forest

Chihuahuas can climb trees!

©Martyna Nysk/Shutterstock.com

Final Thoughts

With this information, hopefully, you can keep coyotes out of your yard. And if you were just wondering if you’d ever get to see a coyote up in the trees–well, it’s unlikely, but not impossible!

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Jukka Jantunen/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Katelynn Sobus is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on pets including dogs, cats, and exotics. She has been writing about pet care for over five years. Katelynn currently lives in Michigan with her seven senior rescue cats.

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