coyoteCoyotes are a very successful animal and are frequently seen on our outings. They are not dangerous so long as a couple of precautions are taken. The following is from a bulletin produced by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, titled "Living with California Coyotes"; republished by permission of the Department. Editing comments are in brackets "[ ]"; the full bulletin has additional information for homeowners.

Coyotes in California

Observing wild animals is one of the many benefits of living in or near wildlife habitat. The experience can turn unpleasant or even dangerous, however, when well-meaning people feed wildlife. When fed by people, coyotes become unnaturally bold and the result is conflict between coyotes and people.

The coyote (Canis latrans), a member of the dog family, is native to California. It closely resembles a small German shepherd dog with the exception of the long snout and bushy, black-tipped tail. The coyote's high-pitched, yodel-like yapping can frequently be heard at night.

Coyotes are extremely adaptable and can survive on whatever food is available. They hunt rabbits, mice, birds, and other small animals, as well as young deer and sheep. They will also feed on the carcasses of dead animals and will accept "hand-outs" from people in the form of table scraps, pet food and garbage.

Coyotes are found throughout California from desert and mountain habitats to urban areas. Problems occur when people begin feeding coyotes, either deliberately or inadvertently. Coyotes will quickly lose their natural fear of people and become bold, even aggressive. Pets are often attacked, injured or killed by coyotes. In a few tragic cases, coyotes have attacked small children, causing serious injuries and death.

Help Keep Coyotes Wild

We can reduce conflicts with coyotes by ensuring that they remain cautions of humans. Practice these safety guideline and encourage [others] to do the same:

Never Feed a Coyote
Deliberately feeding coyotes puts you, your pets, and [others] at risk.
   You may be inadvertently feeding coyotes by leaving pet food or garbage where they can get to it. Feed pets indoors or promptly remove outdoor dishes when pets finish their meals.

Protect Children
Although rare, coyote attacks have seriously inured young children. Never leave small children unattended in areas known to be frequented by coyotes.

Protect Pets
Keep small pets, such as cats, rabbits and small dogs, indoors. Don't allow them to run free at any time. They are easy, favored prey. Some coyotes seek cats in residential areas.

Use Negative Reinforcement
If coyotes begin frequenting your [area], let then know they're not welcome: Make loud noises. Throw rocks.

Report Threats and Attacks
If you see a coyote behaving aggressively or attacking people, contact the nearest office of the California Department of Fish and Game or at the 24 hour dispatch center at 916-445-0045.

Outings Information Introduction