Animals

VIDEO: Learning to Live with Coyotes

Coyotes always seem to be getting a bad rap. They’re usually villains in the movies and cartoons, and when they pop up in the news, it’s never good.

But recent coyote sightings are often due to things that we, as residents of the surrounding communities, are doing to attract them into our neighborhoods – like leaving dog food and cat food outside.

“If you see coyotes jumping into people’s yards, there’s a very easy technique to prevent that,” said County Animal Services Director Dan DeSousa. “It’s called a ‘coyote roller.’ Basically, on the top of your fence you stretch a metal cable from post to post and over that cable, you just put a small piece of PVC pipe.”

The coyote won’t be able to get traction when they put their paws up to jump over the fence and will fall back to the other side.

DeSousa also recommends what’s called “coyote hazing.” If you see a coyote, stop and yell at it. If it starts walking away and stops and turns to look at you again, take a couple steps forward and stop and yell again.

“You want to make that animal afraid of people and afraid to come back into our communities,” he said.

If you walk in preserves or parks with your dogs, make sure to always keep them on a leash and don’t let that leash get too long. And if you’re a cat person? Keep them indoors at all times.

What’s not a solution? Killing these coyotes.

“Coyotes play an integral role in the ecosystem,” DeSousa said. “If we get rid of the coyotes, the prey population they’ve been living on will explode… We need to learn to live with them.”

James Kecskes is a multimedia designer with the County of San Diego Communications Office.