How to “fog” a coyote if it gets too close | Big LA


In Carson, residents say they’re seeing more coyotes than ever before, and not just between dusk and dawn, when they usually roam.

“Anytime, day or night, if I’m outside I can see it popping up several feet away from me,” says Aimee Moriarity, who lives in a mobile home park surrounded by a wild swamp in Carson. “I also have to listen to terrible noises at night. And a lot of my neighbors are really, really scared.

People are afraid to walk small animals outside. Moriarity has lived in the neighborhood for 35 years and says encounters with coyotes are increasingly frequent and aggressive.

“We had an incident where a coyote around noon ran up the steps, jumped over a baby gate, put a dog in its mouth and the neighbors looked at everything,” she says.

These animals aren’t just in Carson, either. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife estimates that 250,000 to 750,000 coyotes exist statewide. They have adapted to city life and have become increasingly tolerant – and less afraid or respectful – of their human neighbors.

Niamh Quinn studied human-wildlife interactions in the Agriculture and Natural Resources Division at the University of California. She is currently working with the LA County Department of Agriculture to track and trap coyotes.

“We see them all over the place we look for them in Los Angeles County,” she says. “We have trapped 20 coyotes so far, from Santa Monica to Glendale and Burbank, through La Verne, to Hacienda Heights, Diamond Bar to Lakewood.”

While mountain lions need huge amounts of green space, coyotes don’t, she says. While some are tracked by moving 10 miles, others stay in a small home range of less than half a square mile.

“Our data shows that they can exist in very densely populated urban areas that have small green spaces, so small parks, even schools,” she says. “And they move along flow control canals, rail tracks, even the sides of highways. They move pretty much like us.

A large coyote peers through the brush of Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park, near Los Angeles and Simi Valley. Photo by Shutterstock.

What if a coyote gets too close to you or your house?

Here’s advice from Niamh Quinn and LA County Assistant Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hartman, responding to calls about coyote issues across LA:

  • Do not feed coyotes, intentionally or unintentionally. Don’t leave food or water on the ground that attracts them (or other animals they like to feed on).

  • If your dog is on a leash, he is usually well protected, but if you see a coyote and have a small dog, pick it up until the coyote leaves.

  • If you come across a coyote, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife recommends “hazing”: make lots of noise, wave your arms, and make yourself look tall until the coyote runs away.

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