Dolores Davies | Crest Road
|Coyote in Joshua Tree, Dec. 2009 Photo Betty Wheeler.
Click on photo to enlarge.
Residents of Del Mar and surrounding neighborhoods have reported a notable uptick in coyote sightings and attacks on pets, some of which can be attributed to the summertime pupping season, during which mother coyotes are especially active in searching for food for new offspring. However, the rapid loss of habitat by continuing development has pushed coyotes and other wildlife into many urban settings, especially those adjacent to canyons, natural parklands, and other open space.
Sadly, this has resulted in numerous attacks on pets, leading to severe injuries and even deaths. Many residents have witnessed these brazen attacks on pets in their own backyards. Because coyotes have become habituated to humans, they are not deterred by our presence. Residents have reported seeing astonishingly agile and quick coyotes climb six-foot fences and walls. While outdoor cats in Del Mar have long lived dangerously, the odds for an outdoor cat surviving today’s coyotes are even lower.
Coyotes, however, are here to stay. They are native to this region, and part of the ecosystem, so coexistence should be our goal. To keep pets safe, some residents with small dogs have purchased “coyote vests,” which sport rows of rigid, brightly colored spikes, which deter coyotes. The vests are made locally and can be purchased at: coyotevest.com. Pet owners can also purchase “coyote rollers,” aluminum rollers which make it difficult for coyotes to climb fences. Visit coyoteroller.com to find out more.
Wildlife experts also recommend that residents take the following steps to deter coyotes in residential areas:
• Never feed coyotes and other wild animals, and remove food sources like pet food.
• Use hazing methods such as yelling, throwing rocks, and waving arms to look bigger.
• Use battery-operated flashing lights or recorded noises in your yard to discourage entry.
• Keep cats and small dogs indoors and let them outdoors only when supervised.
• Do not keep rabbits, chickens, and other small animals outdoors unless they are housed in strong, predator-proof cages.
• Keep all dogs on leash when being walked, especially in canyons, and natural preserves and parks. While larger dogs can’t be snatched away so easily, coyotes, especially in packs, have been known to attack them as well.