Living With Our Neighbor the Coyote

For many residents of Washington Square living with Coyotes can be frustrating. For some it’s having to worry about their cats or dogs meeting a grisly demise and for others its yipping and hollering as neighbors chase Coyotes away from their front yard on a weekly basis. However there are steps that can be taken that can allow both humans and the Canis latrans or North American Coyote to live together in relative harmony.

COYOTE BASICS

(Adapted from Pasadenahumane.org)

Coyotes are very well adapted to living in cities. Coyotes 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. By removing any potential food sources from your home, you can prevent repeat coyote visits. Securing your own home is a good first step, but coexisting coyotes is truly a group effort, so be sure to share these tips with your Washington Square neighbors. You can also print out a  coyote flyer and share it with your neighbors or block.

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 bolder 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.

SECURE YOUR HOME

In addition to seeking out food, coyotes will tend to linger anywhere they can find shelter. Secure your home so that coyotes will not find it hospitable.

  • 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.
  • Also report your coyote encounter to the Coyote Catcher website. This is part of a research project with the University of California Cooperative Extension that aims to collect more information on coyote encounters in California. 

Are you having a problem with coyotes in your yard or near your home? Then the Pasadena Human Society can help. They list a variety of safe, humane ways to help peacefully coexist with wildlife. If you need additional help, please contact their Wildlife Department at 626.792.7151 ext. 110 or wildlife@pasadenahumane.org.

For more information on dealing with Coyotes and if your are interested in joining an upcoming Coyote Safety Workshop you can register here with the Pasadena Humane Society.

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