Coyote crossing road

California Coyotes: How to Protect Your Home and Loved Ones

The coyote is a member of the dog family and, in the state of California, coyote sightings are common. In fact, coyote populations are estimated at 250,000 to 750,000 individuals in Southern California alone. Here’s what you need to know about this smart and adaptable animal.

The Coyote by Nature

The coyote (Canis latrans) is a California, United States native that resembles a small german shepherd, but without the black-tipped tail. Their high-pitched yapping is typically heard at night.

Coyotes control the populations of many small animals, including:

  • Raccoons
  • Skunks
  • Rodents
  • Foxes
  • Groundhogs
  • Snakes

It is part of the coyote’s nature to be afraid of humans. However, this can change dramatically once they enter urban or suburban areas.

Coyotes and Humans

Coyote Protecting Deer Kill

Once an adult coyote has found livestock, cats, small dogs, or human garbage or food, their fear of humans disappears. They exhibit increased aggression and boldness and will kill pets and livestock to feed themselves or their pups.

How to Protect Your Home

To prevent coyotes from becoming habituated or food-conditioned, it’s important to remove access to food sources. This means:

  • Using secure, coyote-resistant bins for compost, recycling, and trash
  • Cleaning trash and recycling bins with ammonia or bleach to eliminate odors
  • Not putting trash out the night before collection
  • Collecting strongly scented items and human foods and pet foods from your yard

Deterrence and exclusion can scare coyotes away and remove the temptation to enter your property. Consider:

  • Installing an electric fence if you have a pet or chicken coop
  • Installing motion-activated alarms, noise, or lights
  • Closing and locking doors and windows when not at home
  • Keeping livestock in secured enclosures at night
  • Bringing pets indoors at night

Your yard may be attracting coyotes. As a result, you may have to:

  • Reduce hiding spaces by trimming shrubs.
  • Remove any bird feeders from your yard.
  • Stop allowing any fallen fruit to remain on the ground.
  • Harvest ripe fruit immediately.
  • Replace fruit trees with native flowers.

How to Protect Children, Pets, and Yourself

If you see a coyote that doesn’t appear to be afraid of you, you can restore its fear of humans by making noise. This can be done by clapping your hands, yelling, or whistling. Do not approach the coyote; observe and allow it to move away from you.

If approached, make noise in addition to lifting and waving your arms. This will make you look bigger and more threatening to a coyote. Keep any small children or pets close to you, and never feed pets outside.

If a coyote attacks, get to a safe place immediately. If you or someone you’re with was scratched or bitten, call 911 immediately. You’ll also want to alert the police and the California Department of Fish and Game of the incident.

Animal Capture Wildlife Control specializes in the safe and humane prevention and removal of many species, including coyotes. We also inspect, repair, and replace existing pest barriers. Call (310) 551-0901 or visit us today.