Over the next two months, the chances of humans encountering coyotes will be on the rise, according to California Department of Fish and Game officials.
Coyotes will be more aggressive in April and May because they've delivered their litters and will have to forage for more food, said Steve Edinger, the DFG assistant chief of the South Coast region, which includes San Diego. "We're entering the season of increased contact between people and coyotes," Edinger said. "These are not animals to regard as pets. They are wild animals that are predators, and they should be treated with caution and respect." A recent study found 89 coyote attacks on humans in California between the late 1970s and 2003, with 79 percent happening in the last decade and 63 percent occurring when coyotes would be taking care of pups or a pregnant female.
Coyote Safety Tips
According to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), if a coyote approaches, you must act aggressively. This is the opposite of a dog encounter. The SPCA recommends that you review the following tips with your children:
Scare the coyote. Stand up tall and make yourself big by waving your arms above your head. Stamp your feet.If you can grab a stick, broom or other object, thrust it toward the coyote. Wave a backpack or umbrella.Shout at the coyote to go away.If the coyote continues to approach you, seek safety in a public building. Don't turn your back on the coyote.Report habituated coyotes to authorities.Put up warning signs in your neighborhood if you see a coyote.If you see someone attempting to befriend or feed a coyote, intervene.Officials say that anyone who feeds a coyote can be fined.
If you see a coyote in your neighborhood that is causing property damage or that you think poses a threat to your family, you can report it to wildlife services at: (858) 694-2518.