Have Wolves Been In My Yard?


As wolves are getting more accustomed to humans, there is more chance of finding one closer to your house. If you want to know how to deal with wolves, then please read on.

If you think you may have had a wolf in your yard, there may be ways to tell. Tracks that have been left in your yard and scat can tell you if a wolf has been around your property.

I am writing this article because I have had a few people contact me asking me the best ways to tell if there has been a wolf around their house, as they are worried about their pets. I will also give some helpful hints and tips on how to keep wolves away.

How To Tell If A Wolf Has Been In Your Yard?

Tracks

A key way to tell if a wolf has been in your yard is by looking for tracks. If you have found tracks, then you may not know how to tell it apart from a dog or a coyote.

Gray Wolf

Gray wolf tracks are wider than coyotes tracks and wider than most dogs. The track of a gray wolf can appear up to 5 inches wide. The outer toes of a wolf splay outwards and all four claws show in the track that has been left. The inner toes on the track are quite large.

Coyote

The track of the coyote is about half the width of a gray wolf’s track, with a diameter of 2.5 inches wide. The claws on a coyote claw are pointed and sharp, but on hard surfaces barely make contact. Coyote tracks have an oval shape, rather than round, making them easy to spot.

If you are unsure of the difference between a coyote and a wolf, I have written an article here.

Coyote
Coyote

Dogs

Most dogs are used to walking on hard surfaces such as pavements or indoors. Due to this, the claws of a dog are blunt. Compared to coyotes, dogs have a round shape, with the second and third toes sitting close to the pad of the heel.

Ever wondered about how wolves evolved into dogs. You can find out in an article I have written here.

Trail Patterns

If you cannot see the full track in your yard but can see the walking pattern of where the animal has been, then you may be able to tell what the animal is. Wolves have a large stride of 60 – 70 cm and walk in a straight line.

Coyotes also walk in a straight line but have a much smaller stride than wolves. Dogs run in many directions, so if the trail pattern is not straight, then the animal was probably a dog.

Vocalizations

Wolves howl for several reasons, and if you have heard wolves howling in the area, then they may have come into your yard.

Wolf
Wolf lying down and howling

If you want more information on why wolves howl, I have written an article which you can read here.

Scat

Wolf scat is quite large, up to 1.5 inches in diameter. The scat is cord-like and tapers to a point. The scat may contain hair and bone fragments from its prey, such as bison, deer, elk, moose, and mountain goats.

Wolf Scat

Coyote scat is smaller, with a shinier appearance, tapering to a point at one end. The scat is smaller at 1 inch in diameter. As with wolf scat, they may contain hair and bone fragments, usually from rodents and rabbits.  

Coyote Scat

Are Wolves Dangerous?

There have been two fatal wolf attacks in the 21st Century in North America. Wolves are fearful of humans and will tend to run away rather than attack. A pack of wolves can be dangerous, but it is unlikely a pack of wolves will come that close to your property.

However, wolves are wild animals, and care must be taken when around them.

How To Stop Wolves Coming In Your Yard?

Clear Up Any Available Food Sources

Wolves are most likely coming close to your property to seek out food. The first step to stop them from coming into your yard is to clear up any food sources in the area.

Coyotes are scavengers and will seek out food where they can get it. You will need first to clear up any food sources.

  • Clear up any garbage in the yard. 
  • Stop feeding your dogs and cats outside and keep their food indoors. Wolves will steal their food off the porch at night. 
  • Reduce the rodent population. Take away any food sources from the rodents. 
  • Secure any trash cans in a garage or special shed. 
  • Keep fallen and rotten fruit off the ground.
Wolf Howling

Make Your Yard Wolf Proof

  • Keep the grass trimmed. Wolves prefer longer grass for shelter. Keeping the grass short may stop a wolf from entering.
  • Build a fence to keep wolves out. Build the fence so that it angles outwards as this makes it harder for wolves to get in. The fence should be at least 5 to 6 feet tall.

How To Safely Get Rid Of Wolves In Your Yard

Flashing Lights

If you want a non-harmful deterrent to keep wolves out of your yard, I use flashing lights to keep them away. I use the Uviverayo deterrent, which is solar-powered. It charges up during the day, then uses flashing lights to keep not only coyotes away but also deer and other animals. They come in packs of four or eight. You can find them at Amazon here.

Wolf Howling

Hazing

There is a method called hazing that is used when dealing with coyotes. Wolves are different animals to coyotes, and if a wolf is coming into your yard, there is a chance that they may have already become habituated to people. It is not recommended to haze a wolf in your yard.

How Do I Protect My Pets From Wolves?

Try to avoid letting your dogs off-leash when walking them if you think you have had a wolf around your property, or if you have heard them in the area. Try to keep cats inside at night, and clear up any dog and cat poop from your yard.  

Conclusion

Wolves are unlikely to come into your yard unless they are looking for food. Keep your yard tidy, keep your pets indoors, and repair fences to keep wolves out.

If you have a wolf that comes into your garden regularly, it is best to contact your local removal expert.

Ever wondered why wolves howl? You can find out in an article I have written hereOpens in a new tab..

Bryan Harding

Bryan has spent his whole life around animals. While loving all animals, Bryan is especially fond of mammals and has studied and worked with them around the world. Not only does Bryan share his knowledge and experience with our readers, but he also serves as owner, editor, and publisher of North American Mammals.

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