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Animal Control Unit Will Attempt to 'Haze' Coyotes as Sightings in Santa Monica Rise


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By Niki Cervantes
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May 29, 2018 -- With sightings of coyotes in Santa Monica on the rise, the City’s animal control unit will boost attempts to “haze” them by using non-lethal objects such as air horns and water guns to instill fear of humans, City officials said.

A City spokesperson tied a recent increase in reports of coyotes in Santa Monica to the time of year: Early spring and into the summer is when coyote cubs emerge from dens, along with other members of their pack, to find food.

Coyote image captured last year with a remote wildlife camera (Photo courtesy National Park Service)

It is the season when mother coyotes teach their young to hunt, “which may result in additional coyote sightings and an increase in the loss of household pets,” said Alejandro Mendoza, a City public services administrator.

As a result, the Santa Monica Animal Control Unit will increase its effort to “haze” coyotes when sighted, he said.

To “haze” refers to the use of air horns, water guns, tennis ball sticks or simply walking towards the animal and yelling in an attempt to “instill fear of humans into the coyote population,” he said.

“Ultimately, the goal is to reduce the prevalence of coyotes and their interaction with humans."

Coyotes have adapted to living in Santa Monica’s urban environment, dispelling the common misconception that they are rural animals which migrate from local mountains to urban environments to search for food and water.

Coyotes commonly live in urban neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties, according to the University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

“Coyotes are known to create homes under residential homes, decks, unoccupied backyards, golf courses and parks,” Mendoza said.

In Santa Monica, open spaces such as large residential properties, golf courses and country clubs make “excellent habitats for coyotes and their young,” he said.

Attacks can occur year around, day or night.

Precautions to prevent coyotes from taking up residence in City neighborhoods include keeping all domestic cats and small pets indoors “at all times, day and night,” Mendoza said.

“Beware that coyotes can scale or jump a six foot fence and maybe able to enter your backyard," he cautioned.

Residents also can do the following to keep coyotes away:

* Do not leave any type of pet food outside.

* Remove or cut down all overgrown shrubberies on property. This prevents coyotes from establishing a den on the property.

* Cover or close all trash containers with a lid.

* Pick up fallen fruit and cut low hanging branches to avoid coyotes feeding on the fruit.

People should never attempt to corner a coyote, approach or feed them, officials said.

If confronted by a coyote, make loud noises and attempt to scare the animal away by using a whistle or air horn, yelling at the coyote or spraying water.

To report consistent coyote sightings contact the Santa Monica Animal Shelter at (310) 458-8595 during normal business hours (Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

For after hour requests for service, contact the Santa Monica Police Non-Emergency line at (310) 458-8491.

Additional information is also available online through the California Department of Fish and Wildlife at


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