February 27, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

How to Live Safely with Urban Coyotes

By Alejandro Mendoza

Coyotes can be very active this time of year. During spring and into early summer, coyote cubs will emerge from their dens along with other members within their pack in search of food. The loss of pets can become more prevalent as mother coyotes attempt to teach their young how to hunt.

We’ve received numerous calls about coyote sightings, some that have resulted in a loss of a pet. In response to this, Santa Monica’s Animal Control unit has increased its effort to “haze” coyotes within the city. The term “haze” consists of using air horns, water guns, tennis ball sticks, or simply walking towards coyotes in an attempt to instill fear of humans. Ultimately, our goal is to reduce the prevalence of coyotes in the community.

Animal control officers who have encountered coyotes laying in open areas or lawns report that the animals immediately flee once they step out of the vehicle, implying that they are fearful of humans.

It’s a misconception that coyotes are only rural creatures. There are populations of coyotes living in urban neighborhoods throughout LA County. Coyotes have been known to create homes under people’s decks, under homes, unoccupied backyards, golf courses and parks.

Here are a few best practices to prevent coyotes in our neighborhoods:

  • Keep all domestic cats and small pets indoors at all times, day and night.
  • Remove or cut down all overgrown shrubberies on property. This prevents coyotes from establishing a den on the property.
  • If confronted by a coyote, make loud noises (whistle, air horn, yelling at coyote, spraying water).
  • Do not leave any type of pet food out on property.
  • Cover or close all trash containers with a lid.
  • Do not under any circumstance approach or feed wild animals.

If you notice a consistent coyote issue or fear they are not afraid of humans, you can contact the Santa Monica Animal Shelter during normal business hours (310.458.8595, Tuesday to Saturday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.) or Santa Monica Police’s non-emergency line (310.458.8491).

Photo by Sarah Stio, Zion National Park
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