“You may not shoot coyotes.”  That’s the law in California, but that doesn’t mean that the animals are harmless. A Monte Sereno man discovered that on Aug. 1, when he woke up to find a coyote staring at him through the screen door of his bedroom.

It was 6:15 am, and his dogs were barking an alarm, but even that didn’t scare the coyote off. He got out of bed and started flailing his arms. But that didn’t really do the trick either. The coyote simply sauntered off and repositioned itself a few feet away.

Sergeant Kerry Harris has some advice for people who encounter a coyote. “Make loud noises,” he advises, “and if that doesn’t work, throw rocks in their direction.” He also suggests wire mesh fences at least 6 feet high and at least six inches in the ground. The problem is that it does not always work, as the Monte Sereno man discovered. He had such a fence around his backyard, but the coyote was able to get over it.

Harris also advises not to leave pets or pet food outside during the night, to lock trash receptacles so that they can’t be opened even if they are tipped over, and to install an automatic lighting system. Shooting them will not work, he explains. As long as the coyotes believe that there is food there, another coyote will immediately take the first one’s place.

Unlike mountain lions, coyotes have adapted well to urban expansion and are able to reproduce in an urban setting.  While they are hunters, urban animals often feast on cats and small dogs. Fortunately, they are secretive animals, active mainly in the early hours of the morning and late in the evening.

Read More at the Mercury News