People and coyotes CAN coexist, here’s how

Categories: PHS Blog

As a native Angeleno, there are a few truths I’ve known and accepted from a very early age:

1) I am woefully unprepared every time it rains, and yet I have never considered buying rain gear,
2) I engage in heated debates about where to get the best tacos at least once a week,
3) The numbers 101 and 405 fill me with a sense of dread,
4) No matter where I live, my neighbors are coyotes.

As an animal lover, having coyotes as neighbors has never been an issue for me. I think they are beautiful animals, and compared to some of my other neighbors, they are generally considerate and respectful.

In fact, the guy who lives in the building next door to me could learn a thing or two from coyotes about being a good neighbor – because while he admittedly has a lovely singing voice, I don’t believe the whole neighborhood needs to hear his rendition of the theme song from Beauty and the Beast at midnight (for the three-hundredth time), is all I’m saying. #closeyourwindows

Sometimes when I hear coyotes howling and yipping in the middle of the night, I imagine that they too are arguing over where to find the best tacos in LA….or, more likely, they’re begging my neighbor to stop singing. Regardless of the conversation being had, I’ve always found the sounds they make to be fascinating.

You’ve probably been hearing those sounds a lot lately too since mating season for coyotes has been in full swing since January. The weather is warming up now and love is in the air – so let’s review some ways to peacefully coexist with our coyote neighbors this year, shall we?

Coyotes are very well adapted to living in cities, especially in Southern California. They may be active at any time of day. Their diet consists of rabbits and rodents, carrion, birds and deer, supplemented with berries and other plant materials. If allowed, they will also prey on domestic pets such as cats.

Coyotes venture out in search of food and shelter – so if you are seeing them on your property, chances are they are seeking an opportunity to dine or den. By removing any potential food sources from your home, you can prevent repeat coyote visits.

Coyotes and Food:
Since coyotes tend to fear people, they are unlikely to approach or harm us. However, intentional or unintentional feeding can make them more comfortable around humans, leading to bold behavior. As such, it is crucial to remove any potential source of food from coyotes.

  • Keep your cats inside and supervise small dogs outdoors.
  • Remove any outdoor pet food.
  • Remove any bird feeders you have set out.
  • Pick up fruit as soon as it falls to the ground.
  • Keep barbecue grills clean.
  • Eliminate access to water on your property, like standing water or bird baths.

Securing Your Home:
In addition to seeking out food, coyotes will tend to linger anywhere they can find shelter. Secure your home so you don’t find yourself being a landlord to squatters.

  • Wildlife-proof garbage in sturdy containers with tight fitting lids.
  • Keep trash in a secure location and only take out trash the morning pick up is scheduled.
  • Keep compost in secure containers.
  • Secure your garage and don’t leave the door open unless necessary.
  • Cover your garden with chicken wire.
  • Trim overgrown landscaping and clear brush.
  • Close off crawl spaces under decks and around buildings.
  • Invest in motion detecting lights that make sound when activated, motion sensing water sprayers, or roll bar fencing.

Encountering a Coyote:
Coyotes are typically very wary of humans and will do their best to avoid us. Take the following steps when you encounter one to ensure your safety:

  • Make the coyote feel uncomfortable.
  • Be aggressive. Yell or spray a hose at the coyote. Make loud noises or shake a can of pennies to scare the coyote away. Throw tennis balls.
  • Make yourself appear large and back away slowly.
  • Never turn your back or run away.
  • Walk your dog on a leash. You can lower your chance of encountering coyotes on your dog walks by avoiding walking your dog at dawn or dusk.
  • Make safety your first priority. In case of emergency, call 911.

Have a problem with coyotes in your yard or near your home? We’re here to help. We list a variety of safe, humane ways to help peacefully coexist with wildlife. If you need additional help, please contact our Wildlife Department at 626.792.7151 ext. 110 or wildlife@pasadenahumane.org.