Coyotes have always been a part of the local environment and since they generally shy away from people, they have been able to coexist in our urban habitat. For several years, the City of Los Alamitos has experienced varying levels of coyote activity, which has included sightings as well as some attacks on pets. Sudden increases in these incidents are usually related to a disturbance in their habitat or the presence of new litters of coyote pups. Coyote activity typically increases in the spring and summer, and wanes in the cooler winter months. Using the flood control channel and drainage ditches as thoroughfares, coyotes easily navigate around the city, often without being seen.
The City of Los Alamitos initiated some mitigation measures in response to the presence of coyotes. Although public awareness campaigns and other mitigation strategies have been in place for several years, most of these measures have resulted in limited success, primarily due to the accessibility of easy food sources and the coyotes’ ability to compensate for population reductions with larger litters. Since the presence of coyotes in particular neighborhoods is generally related to the supply of food in those areas, removing food sources and other “attractants” is key to discouraging their presence. Coyotes are smart scavengers and will eat small animals, pet food, backyard fruit and rotting garbage. Additional tips to discourage coyotes from foraging for food in neighborhoods include securing garbage bins, keeping pets indoors, and installing motion sensor lighting.
Although the number of formally reported occurrences is small, it is generally believed that there are incidents that go unreported. Coyote problems are not unique to Los Alamitos as most of the southland experiences similar issues. Rossmoor, Seal Beach and Long Beach have coyote activity that tends to parallel that of Los Alamitos.
It is impossible to eliminate coyotes from our environment, but here are some things you should remember as we strive to coexist with these intelligent scavengers:
Never encourage them to approach – Yell or throw things in their direction.
- Never feed coyotes – Food, garbage, water, fallen fruit, and dense shrubs attract coyotes.
- Keep small pets indoors – Most coyotes can jump over and/or run along the top of 8’ fences so be careful with small pets, even in your yard.
- When visiting in a city park, keep your pet under direct control and by your side.
- The most serious coyote concern is that they may become habituated to people, lose their fear of humans, and become bolder. This is caused by feeding them, either directly or indirectly.
- For your safety, keep them at a distance!
Even when coyote activity is low, residents are encouraged to remain vigilant in keeping their homes free of coyote attractants. Coyote contacts should be reported by calling Long Beach Animal Care Services (our service provider) at (562) 570-7387 or by visiting www.longbeach.gov/acs.
For more information, please call Operations Captain Chris Karrer at the Los Alamitos Police Department, (562) 431-2255, x 410.