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How to Coexist With Coyotes

Keeping a watchful eye on small pets is just one of the expert tips to keep coyotes away.

There's been some recent chatter on this site about coyote sightings in Chatsworth, which reminded me of how often the issue was discussed in the Calabasas community when I ran that Patch site.

Coyotes are no strangers to roaming L.A. suburbs nowadays, but a few tips I gathered from a wildlife expert last year could help keep them off your lawn.

Cynthia Reyes, former executive director of the California Wildlife Center, said coyotes rarely ever attack humans.

In fact, a coyote attacking a human has been reported 48 times between 1998 and 2003, while dog-related attacks rank around 3,000 occurrences during that time frame, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. 

But the wild animals won't hesitate to go after small cats and dogs. Small canines should always be on a leash and be picked up by their owners if they spot a coyote nearby, she added.

Also, one should never deliberately feed a coyote because it could attract more, Reyes said.

"If you're trying to feed one wild animal, you're basically going to feed all animals," she said.

Other tips offered by Reyes included spraying cayenne pepper and ammonia on trash, which could keep coyotes from returning.

Bird feeders are also "the root of all evil," she said.

Spilled seeds have been known to attract coyotes, so it's important to clean them up and even consider placing the bird feeder on a higher pole so the wild canines cannot knock them down, Reyes said.

Another way of keeping coyotes off one's property is through a method dubbed hazing, which is designed to ward off coyotes that are used to making treks from the wild into residential neighborhoods.

Those kinds of coyotes have become habituated, meaning they are no longer scared of humans, said Camila Fox, founder and executive director of Project Coyote.

Hazing encompasses an array of non-violent techniques that reverse the effects of habituation, she said.

"The idea is to reinstate the fear coyotes have of people," Fox said.

Tactics to scare off coyotes include yelling at them, making loud banging noises, clapping, spraying them with a hose or even throwing rocks in their direction, though not at them, she said.

"Be big bad and loud," she said. "[Coyotes] are social pack animals. If they feel that you're the dominant force out there, they will respond accordingly," she said.

Another important step is to not stop hazing until a coyote has retreated, Fox said.

She said successful hazing makes a coyote uncomfortable around humans, making them less likely to return to someone's home.

Have any other tips for keeping coyotes away? Tell us in comments.
Jock December 12, 2013 at 10:45 AM
Good tips Arin ! Also lets be clear, in the large proportion of "Attacks" by coyotes it was a bite from someone attempting hand feeding one or not being careful around a wild animal.
tony December 12, 2013 at 11:59 AM
I HAVE USED A HAND HELD BOAT AIR HORN AND WORKS VERY WELL
Charles Murray December 13, 2013 at 11:14 AM
For those who live on larger ranch-type properties (in Chatsworth or anywhere), there is another coyote hazard to watch for, with regard to larger dogs. The coyotes' tactic is different when it comes to attacking larger dogs, and they are VERY good at it. One "friendly, playful" coyote will come up to the larger dog, and will befriend it. Then once trust is gained, the lone coyote will lead the dog away from home, and there will be the rest of the coyote's pack waiting. I've watched (and thankfully diffused) this situation twice, by being watchful and having a dirt bike ready to jump on. As Arin said, NOISE and posing to be the dominant one, will be your best bet at stopping or averting an attack.
blzbob December 17, 2013 at 12:17 AM
I just now got home at 9pm to see a medium sized coyote again in my driveway. When I honked he ran away but its getting a little crazy how they are just milling around looking for food.

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