Living with Coyotes
Public Service Announcement:
Living with Coyotes
While coyote sightings in San Mateo County are common, residents, especially those with children and pets, need to remember that they are wild animals, and will defend themselves if they feel threatened. To avoid confrontations with coyotes, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with the City of Millbrae, reminds people to take precautions when around these wild animals.
Coyotes are most visible and active during breeding season, which runs from spring through fall. They are active throughout the day and night, but become more active around dawn and dusk when they are looking for food. In urban areas like ours, they may not be as quick to run in the presence of people, but they will prefer to keep their distance.
Coyotes will not approach humans, but occasionally, they will move in closer. If they approach you or do not move as you approach them, take the following steps, in order, until the coyote flees:
- Do not turn and run away. If you are with children, stand between them and the coyote. If you have a small dog with you, pick it up.
- Stand tall, wave your arms in the air, and make loud noises. If possible, use a whistle or shake a can with coins inside.
Coyotes are opportunistic omnivores that will scavenge for food in populated areas when they are hungry, particularly areas where rodents, their prey, are numerous. People can help reduce the chances of coyote encounters by not providing them with food sources, i.e. keeping their garbage in a sealed container and cleaning up food that has fallen outside, and by not providing rodents with a home by keeping underbrush clear and under control. In addition, people with pets should keep them inside at night, keep their dog on a leash while walking them, and keep all pet food inside.
Coyotes are an important part of our ecology, and we must learn to live alongside them. Although attacks on humans are extremely rare they can happen when the animal feels threatened. Taking appropriate precautions will keep you, your family and pets, and the coyotes safe.
If you have additional questions regarding coyote encounters, please call the Peninsula Humane Society at (650) 340-7022.