Are coyotes attacking your communities?
Termite Terry: In Orange County, it is common to hear stories about coyotes attacking or killing pets. Coyotes have adapted very well to the southern California suburban areas, and they seem to have lost their fear of humans. They prey on wild animals, pets, and will stalk and attack people as well. Many people call government agencies for help, but these agencies usually recommend hiring a professional trapper. The coyote population is growing, and homeowners cannot count on help from the government, so that is why it is so important for you to learn how to protect your family and pets from these predators. What should you know about coyotes? Well, coyotes are a medium-sized members of the dog family.
You’ll see they look similar to a small German Shepherd, except they have a longer, narrower snout and a bushy black tipped tail. They stand about 18 inches high at the shoulders, weigh about 18 – 35 pounds. Good picture there. Coyotes mate in January and February. Before giving birth they will excavate one or more dens in the soil. You will see sometimes they will expand the burrows of other animals such as rabbits, ground squirrels, or they will use hollow logs or drain pipes and set up their nest.
Coyotes typically select areas with minimal human activity. Pups are born during March and April, so we’re right in the thick of things here. Litter size is about 4 – 7 pups, and parents and offspring will continue to live as a family together for about six months. Juveniles move out late fall to live on their own, and start their own families. Now where do coyotes live? You’ll see that they can live in almost any habitat in California. They can be found out in the desert, I know they’ve chased me while my wife and I are riding our dirt bike out in the desert.
You’ll see them in the wet meadows, foggy coastal regions in the north, but southern California suburban areas are where you’re going to find the highest densities on record. They really like this climate and all the good food and water that we provide for them. What do they eat? Their diets are diverse and adaptable. They can live on almost anything. You’ll see here that they eat insects, fruits, berries, songbirds, dead animals, and will attack, kill full grown animals such as deer. Out in the farm country poultry, sheep, goats, and calves are easy targets because they don’t have any natural defenses against wild predators.
Now back in the 20th century, livestock owners and government agencies suppressed coyote populations. They were using toxins, traps, shooting, and other techniques. But here’s a really important point for you. Studies have shown that in order to control coyotes through removal, you would have to kill more than three-quarters of them every single year to maintain control. And as a homeowner, that’s not going to happen. It’s way too expensive and labor intensive. Today, we have an increasing number of regulations. Every day there’s a new law passed. And of course, society’s attitude has changed too. If you go out and kill a coyote, you may end up on the front page of the register with an unfavorable article.
These factors along with government’s lack of effort are making controls of coyotes increasingly difficult. So what can you do to help solve problems with coyotes? Well here are 10 things you can to to protect your family and pets. Number one, you need to build a fence. The fence is going to have to be at least six feet high. Now you have to remember too that coyotes like digging under fences, so you’re going to have to put some galvanized wire mesh buried under the ground four or six inches. Make sure it extends out about 15 inches so that, again, they can’t dig under it. And you’re also going to have to put a wire mesh overhang on top of the fence to keep the animals from jumping over.
Your house will look like Chino prison. And of course, besides not being attractive it can be expensive. Here’s a photograph of how a fence would be built. Here you can see the wire mesh underground. There’s the overhang that sticks up. Of course the good news is that we have a new alternative that was just introduced, and they’re called coyote rollers. These rollers can be installed on top of the fence. Just about any type of fence by the way. If a coyote were to jump on top, and grab a hold it would roll off and fall to the ground. They might try two or three times before they give up, but again, fairly attractive and a lot less expensive.
Number two. When you walk around your house, look for areas under your home, decks, porches and sheds where coyotes can build nests. You need to close them off to keep them from setting up a colony right in your own backyard. Number three. Now this is another thing that you can do, you can frighten them with hazing techniques. In other words, if you do have a coyote in your backyard or approaching your family and pets, shout at them, throw rocks, spray them with a garden hose, use an air horn, or sometimes just acting aggressively will help in a lot of cases. The worst thing you could do is just stand there and freeze.
Motion sensitive lights on your home or buildings also could be a good idea. Number four. This is another good thing you can do at your own house. Clear or thin thick vegetation. On your plants and trees, shrubs. Prune them up about two feet from the ground. Clear out that area so that there is no room for them to hide out and set up a family there. And of course another thing too is that if you have trees that produce seeds and fruits, you need to keep the ground picked up and clean so that you won’t have them coming by every night for dinner. Number five. Eliminate water sources. Ponds and fountains are very attractive to coyotes. If you have these you will have to put a fence around them to keep the coyotes out. Number six. Feed your pets indoors. If you do feed your pets outdoors, put the food bowls and all the food away every night.
Don’t leave it out, because again, that’s very attractive. If you store food, make sure it’s stored indoors. Or if you store it outdoors, make sure you keep it in a good tight sealed container so that the coyotes can’t break into it. Number seven. Keep your garbage cans covered and sealed. Open trash cans of course are like a diner. They will very attractive to come by. Number eight. This is another really important thing. Keep your pets, especially the small ones, indoors. Cats, rabbits, and small dogs are very easy prey. If you keep them outdoors, keep them in an enclosed kennel. Large dogs should also be brought in at night. Coyotes won’t have any hesitation to attacking a dog like that. And last but not least, don’t let your cats or dogs run free. My next door neighbor just lost two of her cats. They were free roaming every night, and one night they came back…
or actually they didn’t come back. Number nine. When you’re walking your dog make sure that you use a leash. And it’s also a good idea to bring a cane or a walking stick with you too just in case you have some way to defend yourself and your pet. Avoid walking your dog near dense vegetation or cover. If you see heavy shrubs or plants, don’t walk in that area walk on the other side of the street because there might be some hiding out in there. Another thing that’s important is don’t walk your dog at the same time every day because they’ll learn your routine and may stalk you and be ready to come out. And last but not least, number ten. Don’t ever feed or provide water to coyotes.
Feeding may cause them to lose their fear of people, and make them more aggressive than they already are. And anyone that does feed or give them water is putting the entire neighborhood’s children and pets at risk. Please be safe and let’s all work together to solve this problem. And last but not least, you’re my sales staff. If you would like to share this information with some of your clients, please feel free call our office and we can provide all of these documents on a word file for you. It’s especially good if you’re in a homeowner’s association you can put this in your newsletter. A lot of your friends and neighbors would really appreciate learning more about this. Thank you. Any questions? Hi Sally.
Sally: Mine is not a question, but my girlfriend’s granddaughter was riding her bike down the riverbed there, and three coyotes came out with her, and she had her dog out on a leash and she stopped and put the dog in the basket. But the three of them, if they come in a pack, they will surround you. And that’s what you need to be aware of. And she just turned around immediately and went the other way, and fortunately they did not come after her. But each one of the three of them, they ran on the side of her and one in the front of her and started to stalk her. So you have to be really careful when you’re riding on the riverbed and when you’re walking. Like he said bring a stick because we are in bad shape in Huntington Beach. There’s a lot a lot of them.
Business Growth Innovators Member: … I know, excuse me one second. My parents live in Landmark, a big community. They actually have a flag up now, green or red, to let people know if coyotes are there because there are so many. There are dead animals all the time. My mother takes her early morning walks with a stick and usually comes out with two or three elderly people watching people walk small dogs. There are coyotes throughout that entire division. It’s insane how much they have. So that is a very relevant issue.
Termite Terry: Well, thank you.
Business Growth Innovators Member: Just wanted to clarify, you’re authorized to do removal.
Termite Terry: Well, no. Actually I’m not.
Business Growth Innovators Member: Then why are we supposed to call you about the damn coyotes then?
Termite Terry: Well this is part of a public service. We are concerned about our clients and their needs. If you do have a problem with coyotes we would be glad to stop by, look at your home, and give you some hot tips on how you can control it. On other overlapping factor is that rodent activity can be a reason why they are attracted to your area. So sometimes we will recommend trying to reduce the rodent population. Maybe you’ve got a pigeon problem, their attracted to that. Et cetera. And of course, last but not least, we can put the coyote rollers on top of your fence for you if you need that. So, any other questions. All right, I appreciate it. You guys have a great day.
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