Hiker kills rabid coyote with bare hands after it attacks him on the trail

A coyote in the desert
The Rhode Island man has since tested positive for rabies (Image credit: Pierre Longnus)

A Rhode Island hiker who killed a coyote with his bare hands after it attacked him on the trail has tested positive for rabies. The man was hiking in the woods of Johnston, a town 10 miles from Providence, when the coyote attacked him and bit him in the leg on Friday.

The man reportedly was able to pin the animal down and cut off its air supply, killing it. Environmental Police officers then transferred the animal carcass for testing, where it was confirmed to have had rabies.

According to a report from the Rhode Island Department for Environmental Management, the same coyote is also suspected in attacking another individual the day prior.

Rabies is a virus acquired through contact with an infected animal and in humans it is nearly always fatal without a post-exposure vaccine series. Anyone who thinks they may have been in contact with the coyote is urged to seek immediate medical attention. If you think your pet may have been infected, the DEM advises you to obtain veterinarian care. Officials say this is only the third report of a rabid coyote in the state since 1994.

A coyote on a forest trail

Officials say this is only the third report of a rabid coyote in the state since 1994 (Image credit: Harry Collins / EyeEm)

Coyote safety

A coyote is a member of the canine species that is native to North America. Though it is a close relative to the wolf, it is much smaller. Coyotes look just like a grey/brown dog with a long tail and from a distance, you might mistake them for someone’s pet.

Coyote attacks on humans are highly unusual with only one fatal attack recorded in US history. That said, if you do encounter one on a hike, it's important to give it a wide berth, secure pets and children and don't try to feed it. Learn more in our article on what to do if you see a coyote while hiking.

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.