Coyote Information

Coyote 911


Coyotes will typically avoid humans.  However, if a coyote is cornered, is defending its den, is injured, is sick, or has learned to associate humans with food, they can become aggressive.   It is important that residents avoid behaviors that cause coyotes to associate humans with food.

Preventing coyotes from associating humans with food:

Never feed a coyote

Do not feed pets or animals outdoors – including feral cats

Keep your trash secured in a closed, coyote-proof container


Hazing coyotes when you encounter one can help reinforce their natural fear of humans.

How to haze coyotes:

Make loud noises, use noise making devices if you have any nearby

Make yourself look big – hands up and waving

Throw something at the coyote or squirt it with a hose

Walk toward the coyote without cornering it


Never run from a coyote.

They are predators and this will trigger their hunting instincts.  In the rare case that a coyote threatens you, slowly back away while facing the coyote, make loud noises, make yourself look big, and throw something at the coyote if possible.

If a coyote attacks – fight back.  Call 911 immediately when possible.

If a coyote is injured or is acting strangely - avoid the coyote and call Animal Control.

Avoid dense brush and cover during pupping season.  If you encounter an aggressive coyote near dense cover, you may be near its den.  Slowly back away from the area while still facing the coyote.   Make yourself look big and make lots of noise.  If the coyote attacks fight back.   Report the incident and location to Animal Control at 310-379-2477, Option 6.  

Protecting toddlers – Keep a close eye on toddlers outdoors especially near dawn and dusk.  Avoid areas with dense brush during pupping season with your toddler. 

IDENTIFICATION:  Coyotes look like dogs with longer legs.  They have tawny fur and long overcoats with black tipped guard hairs.  The guard hairs form a dark stripe on their back and a dark band over their shoulders.  Coyote throats and belly tend to be lighter in color. Forelegs, sides of their head, muzzle, and feet are usually reddish brown.  Coyotes are also known for their full tail which is usually tipped in black.   One way to distinguish dogs from coyotes is coyotes tend to run with their tails straight out whereas dogs typically run with their tail up.  Their legs are skinny and longer than those of dogs.  Coyotes can also be distinguished from dogs by the shape of their head – their muzzle is narrower and convex and their skull does not have the pronounced bulge that dogs have over their eyes when viewed from the side. Longer legs, sleeker snout, flatter forehead, and a large fluffy tail pointed straight back are the visual cues for identifying a coyote.  In our area, adult coyotes usually weigh between 15 and 30 pounds.  Their thick fur and long legs often cause people to overestimate their size and weight.

Like other predators, coyote population is naturally controlled by food availability, territorial defense, and habitat.  As they adapted to urban habitat, coyotes have found ample human sources of food to replace or augment their normal natural food sources.  Pet food, pets, garbage, and fruit are food sources for urban coyotes that are not normally found in their rural brethren.  It is not surprising that an abundance of any of these sources of food in a neighborhood will attract coyotes.   Recent studies have found that feral cat feeding stations and higher densities of free ranging cats are strong coyote attractors. 

To reduce the attractiveness of a neighborhood to coyotes, home and business owners must reduce the human sources of food.

Reducing human sources of food for coyotes:

Keep all garbage secured in sturdy closed cans, bins, or dumpsters.

Do not feed any pets or animals outdoors including feral cats.  (Even birdfeeders attract rodents which attract coyotes).

Pick up fallen fruit daily.

Dispose of pet waste daily.

Keep pets indoors or in catios or sturdy enclosed runs when outdoors.

Do not let cats free range.


Additionally, home and business owners can ensure that their landscaping does not provide cover or a denning location for coyotes and ensure that any access underneath structures (such as crawl spaces and decks) on their property is inaccessible to coyotes.


Unfortunately, urban coyotes will target smaller pets, especially cats.   Simple precautions can reduce the risk to your pets.  

Protecting your pet from coyotes:

Do not let your cat free range

When walking your pet use a short leash and avoid heavy brush, especially during pupping season.   Coyotes rarely attack a pet in close proximity to a human.  

Check your yard before you let your dog out in your fenced back yard.  Coyotes can scale 8 foot fences – so it is best to stay with your pet while outside in the yard; especially at dawn or dusk.

The best protection outdoors is a sturdy catio for a cat or sturdy enclosed run for a dog or cat.

Avoid feeding your pet or any animal outdoors.

Clean up animal waste in your yard quickly.


It is important to emphasize the warning to keep pet cats from free ranging.   Cat killing reports are second only to coyote sighting reports in number.   Recent studies have found that higher densities of free ranging cats are a major attractor of coyotes to a neighborhood.

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