Due to a recent increase in the number of human/coyote incidents in Southern California, residents should be particularly vigilant in watching their children and pets when outdoors.
In the past month, there have been four incidents in Irvine where young children were either bitten or scratched by a coyote, resulting in minor injuries.
“These incidents highlight the importance of communities working together to eliminate sources of food that may attract wildlife to neighborhoods,” said Capt. Rebecca Hartman, of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Law Enforcement Division. “When coyotes are fed, either intentionally or unintentionally by food being left out, they can become a public safety threat.”
CDFW volunteers have been conducting outreach and distributing wildlife information to residents in Irvine and trappers have been deployed to locate and humanely euthanize coyotes in the area where the incidents have occurred.
During the warm summer months, particularly from March through August, coyotes are very active. They are raising their young and are in an almost constant search for food.
Coyotes are highly adaptable and often live in close proximity to populated areas where food and water sources are abundant. They usually fear humans and avoid interactions; however, if they begin to associate humans with food, they lose their natural fear and can become bold and aggressive.
Coyote Safety Tips
• Keep a close eye on small children when outdoors.
• Keep small pets inside particularly at dawn and dusk when coyotes are most active.
• Keep pets on a leash when walking.
• Keep pet food and water dishes inside.
• Secure food and trash at all times and remove all sources of water.
• Pick up fallen fruit and keep compost piles tightly sealed.
• Sweep up fallen birdseed, which can attracts mice and rats, a common food source for coyotes.
• Remove brush, wood piles and debris where coyotes can find cover and where rodents are abundant.
• Install motion-activated lighting or sprinklers.
• If a coyote approaches or acts aggressively, throw rocks, make noise, look big, and pick up small children and pets. Do not turn your back to the animal.
• If a coyote is frequently seen around schoolyards or playgrounds or is acting aggressively, contact your local animal control or CDFW.
• If a coyote attacks, call 911.
There has been only one recorded fatality in California from a coyote attack (a 3-year-old girl in 1981). Coyote attacks are relatively rare and the mere presence of a coyote does not constitute a public safety threat. However, in areas where coyotes are highly visible and active, caution is advised.