Coyotes in Westminster
Coyotes are found in ALL areas of Orange County. Contrary to popular belief, these animals do not require open space or “wild areas” to survive. In fact, most coyotes within the urban setting are the offspring of generations of coyotes who lived and flourished in the urban areas of Orange County. Though these animals are far from domesticated, they are very comfortable living in close proximity to human beings. While not normally a danger to human beings, coyotes will display defensive behaviors if threatened or cornered; therefore, it is important to leave a comfortable distance between you and a coyote.
Small pets can easily become coyote prey. Cats and small dogs should not be allowed outside alone, even in a fenced yard. It is highly recommended that their owner always accompany small pets. Though coyotes generally hunt between sunset and sunrise, they can be observed at all hours of the day and will not pass up the opportunity for an easy meal. A dog or cat left in a backyard can be taken in a matter of moments.
If you do encounter a coyote that behaves aggressively, you have probably gotten too close to its prey or its family. Increase the “comfort zone” between you and the coyote. A coyote behaves in a similar way as domestic dogs that are defending their territory and family. Even a fully fenced yard will not keep out a hungry, athletic coyote. These animals are extremely agile and can easily scale any residential fence. All children should be taught from a very early age to avoid strange animals, whether domestic or non-domestic. They should never attempt to feed a wild animal. When older children are hiking or are in parks, they should be instructed on coyote safety. Eradication and/or relocation of the urban coyote is not effective. These programs actually provide a vacuum in nature, causing these animals to have even larger litters, ultimately increasing the coyote population.
Many steps can be taken to protect you and your property from nuisance animals like coyotes and other wildlife.
- Fence off animal enclosures (fully enclose if possible).
- Keep cats and small dogs indoors or in the close presence of an adult.
- Feed pets indoors.
- Store trash in covered heavy-duty containers.
- Put your trash out the morning of pick up.
- Keep yards free from potential shelter such as thick brush and weeds.
- Enclose the bottoms of porches and decks.
- Eliminate potential food and water sources, such as fallen fruit and standing water.
- Keep your property well lit at night.
- Motion sensitive sprinklers may be effective in areas of high concern.
- Keep small children under close adult supervision at all times.
Being well informed on outdoor safety and practicing the steps above is often the best way to discourage unwanted visits from nuisance coyotes. Everyone’s goal should be to peacefully coexist with our wild neighbors.
You can find additional information regarding coyotes by way of the links below:
- Westminster TV-3 - Living with Coyotes Video
- Humane Society - Tips on Urban Coyotes
- Humane Society - Alternatives to Euthanizing Coyotes
For further information, contact Westminster Animal Control Division at (714) 548-3201.