any residents of Orange County have expressed concerns about coyote
sightings and the consequences of predator animals within the urban
environment. Several residents have lost their pets to these skilled hunters
because they were not aware of recent coyote activity in the area.
Coyotes are found in ALL areas of Orange County. Contrary to popular belief,
these animals do not require open space or “wild areas” to survive. In fact, most
coyotes within the urban setting are the offspring of generations of coyotes who
lived and flourished in the urban areas of Orange County.
Though these animals are far from domesticated, they are very comfortable
living In close proximity to human beings. They have little fear of humans and are
frequently seen trotting along within a few feet of joggers, bikers and horseback
riders. While not normally a danger to human beings, coyotes will display defensive
behaviors if threatened or cornered; therefore, it is important to leave a comfortable
distance between you and a coyote.
Small pets can easily become coyote prey. Cats and small dogs should not be
allowed outside alone, even in a fenced yard. It is highly recommended that their
owner always accompany small pets. Though coyotes generally hunt between
sunset and sunrise, they can be observed at all hours of the day and will not pass
up the opportunity for an easy meal. A dog or cat left in a backyard can be taken in a
matter of moments.
If you do encounter a coyote that behaves aggressively, you have probably gotten
too close to its prey or its family. Increase the “comfort zone” between you and
the coyote. A coyote behaves in a similar way as domestic dogs that are defending
their territory and family. Even a fully fenced yard will not keep out a hungry, athletic
coyote. These animals are extremely agile and can easily scale any residential
fence. All children should be taught from a very early age to avoid strange animals,
whether domestic or non-domestic. They should never attempt to feed a wild
animal. When older children are hiking or are in parks, they should be instructed
on coyote safety. Eradication and/or relocation of the urban coyote is not effective.
These programs actually provide a vacuum in nature, causing these animals to have
even larger litters, ultimately increasing the coyote population.
Practicing these defensive measures will minimize the nuisance and losses
caused by urban coyotes.