So now that we know coyotes are here, how are we going to learn to live with them? Coyotes will generally avoid humans and are natural predators of mice, rats, squirrels, gophers and other small animals. However the presence of a free meal in the form of pet food, compost, or trash can lure coyotes into yards. A coyote who finds food in one yard may learn to search for food in other yards. In addition, deliberately feeding coyotes is a mistake and against the law! Coyotes that are intentionally or unintentionally fed can become habituated, which can lead to bolder behavior when coyotes lose their fear of people. Coyotes may not make a distinction between their “natural” prey and the family cat or small dog. Without the lure of food, coyote visits will be brief and rare.
Here are a few suggestions you and your neighbors can follow to help avoid conflicts with coyotes and help keep them in their natural habitat areas:
- Don’t leave small pets or children outside unattended.
- Don’t leave pet foot outside overnight.
- Remove sources of water.
- Make sure your fences are six feet high with no gaps at ground level – coyotes are good diggers.
- Put bird feeders away at night to avoid attracting rodents and other coyote prey.
- Remove fallen fruit from the ground.
- If you compost, use enclosed bins and never compost meat or fish scraps.
- Install motion-sensitive lighting around the house.
- Trim ground-level shrubbery to reduce hiding places.
- Talk to your neighbors to make sure they’re following the same procedures.
Recently Liz Brown Swanson from RPV Channel 33 City Talk had the opportunity to speak to the City’s Deputy Community Development Director, Greg Pfost, and Lynsey White Dasher, an urban wildlife specialist with the Human Society, on the topic of coyotes in the City. They discussed coyote sightings in the City, why coyotes are in the City, and what to do if you see a coyote. Please CLICK HERE to watch the interview.
For additional information on coyotes please refer to the following three brochures from the Humane Society
- SOLUTIONS FOR COYOTE CONFLICTS: Why Killing does Not Solve Conflicts with Coyotes
- COYOTE HAZING GUIDELINES: How to Haze for Effective Reshaping of Coyote Behavior
- PREVENTING COYOTE CONFLICTS: How to Keep Coyotes Out of Your Yard and Keep Your Pets Safe
If you encounter a sick, lethargic, injured, or dead coyote Los Angeles County Animal Control will respond to pick up the animal. They can be reached at 310-523-9566. As a community we can work together to learn to live peacefully with coyotes.