BUSTED: This coyote image was captured with a remote wildlife camera used during a Caltrans study near Thousand Oaks. (Photo courtesy National Park Service)

BUSTED: This coyote image was captured with a remote wildlife camera used during a Caltrans study near Thousand Oaks. (Photo courtesy National Park Service)

CITYWIDE — More coyotes have been spotted in Santa Monica in recent months, and the police department has issued a warning for residents to take precautions for their safety.

Coyotes enter — and often live in — urban areas because of the food resources that are available to them, said Justin Brown, wildlife biologist at the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

Brown said he doesn’t know why coyotes have been more active in urban areas in recent months. It is possible that new coyote pups are starting to move around more as they grow up, he said.

Certain packs of coyotes who live specifically in or near urban areas can also become less fearful of humans if the packs live near people for a long time and become more accustomed to them, Brown said. Coyotes sometimes need to move into urban areas if resources like water become scarce in their natural habitat.

Coyote attacks on people are rare. To protect residents from any possible attacks, however, the police department has the following tips if anyone spots a coyote:

• Do not approach or feed wild animals.

• Use loud noise and aggressive movements to scare away coyotes. Residents can use noisemakers such as a whistle or tin can with coins to scare them away.

• Do not leave pets or small children unattended outdoors.

• Increase fence height to at least 6 feet to prevent coyotes from jumping over them. To prevent coyotes from digging below fences, extend the fence 12-18 inches below ground and line the bottom with rock.

• Do not leave pet food dishes outside.

• Pick fruit when it ripens and do not leave fallen fruit on the ground.

• Call animal control at (310) 458-8595 Tuesdays through Saturdays to report coyote sightings or animals killed or injured by a coyote.

• Call the Santa Monica Police Dispatch at (310) 458-8491 to report aggressive coyote activity.

• Seek veterinary care immediately if a pet is bitten by a coyote.

• Seek medical care immediately if bitten by a coyote.

 

editor@smdp.com

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