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Protecting your family and pets from coyotes

A coyote stands on the 12th fairway at SilverRock Resort on January 24, 2010 in La Quinta, California.
A coyote stands on the 12th fairway at SilverRock Resort on January 24, 2010 in La Quinta, California.
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Due to a recent increase of reported coyote sightings in Burbank and Glendale, the City of Burbank has issued a community bulletin to help residents manage their interaction with this indigenous species.

Coyotes tend to be more visible in the spring when they're searching for food and water for their newborn pack members. As with most wildlife, they prefer to avoid human contact but may lose their natural wariness if they have consistent access to nourishment in human-populated areas.

The California Department of Fish and Game recommends adhering to the following guidelines in order to protect yourself, your family and your pets from unwanted coyote encounters:

  • Never feed or attempt to tame coyotes.
  • Do not leave small children or pets outside unattended.
  • Install motion-sensitive lighting around the house.
  • Trim ground level shrubbery to reduce hiding places.
  • If followed by a coyote, make loud noises. If this fails, throw rocks in the animal’s direction.
  • Put garbage in tightly closed containers that cannot be tipped over.
  • Remove sources of water, especially in dry climates.
  • Do not leave pet food outside.
  • Bring pets in at night.
  • Put away bird feeders at night to avoid attracting rodents and other coyote prey.
  • Provide secure enclosures for rabbits, poultry, and other small pets.
  • Pick up fallen fruit and cover compost piles.
  • Ask your neighbors to follow these tips.

A coyote's preferred diet consists primarily of small mammals, making them extremely beneficial to the Burbank area because they help to keep the local rodent population under control. Unfortunately, this also means that cats and small dogs are vulnerable to coyote attacks. Coyotes are very opportunistic in their diets and will eat human garbage, pet food, or any other edible remains discarded by human hands, so bringing pets indoors and keeping outdoor areas clean are the best defenses against a coyote encounter.

Despite some activists' attempts to sensationalize coyote attacks and call for their removal from the area, humans and coyotes can cohabit peacefully. If you are concerned about coyotes in your neighborhood, though, you can call Burbank Animal Control at (818) 238-3340 for more information.


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