Keep Me Wild: Coyote

coyote standing still
Coyote laying down
Coyote laying in grass
Coyote looking over shoulder

Coyotes are smart adaptable canines that have learned to survive, and often thrive – in urban and residential areas. Coyotes play an important role in the ecosystem, helping to keep rodent populations under control. They are by nature fearful of humans.

However, if coyotes are given access to human food and garbage, their behavior changes. They lose caution and fear. They may begin to harass domestic livestock and pets . They might threaten human safety. They might be killed. Relocating a problem coyote only moves the problem to another neighborhood. Understand how to keep coyotes wild. Learn more!

Homeowners, Property Owners, Renters

Use wildlife-resistant containers.

  • Always keep trash, recycling, and compost in secure bins.
  • Wait to put out trash until the morning of collection.
  • Clean garbage and recycling bins with bleach or ammonia.
  • Remove unsecured trash, human or pet food, and strongly scented items from yard.

Use simple, effective exclusion methods.

  • Keep doors and windows closed and locked when unoccupied.
  • Bring pets inside at night. Keep livestock in secure pens at night.

Use simple, effective deterrent methods.

  • Install motion-activated lights, noise or alarms.
  • Install electric fencing to keep coyotes out of chicken coops and animal enclosures.

Use “wildlife-smart” landscaping.

  • Remove bird feeders from yard.
  • Plant native flowers to attract birds instead.
  • Pick ripe fruit off trees, and promptly collect fruit that falls.
  • Trim ground-level shrubbery to reduce hiding places.

Never feed a coyote! Feeding a coyote will cause it to lose its natural fear of people and may result in a dangerous situation for people, pets, and coyotes.

Yards, Parks & More

At Home

  • Remove attractants such as fallen fruit.
  • Keep bird feeders clean and maintained.
  • Do not feed pets outdoors, or remove pet food at night.
  • Do not leave small pets unsupervised outside.

At parks or schools

  • Leash pets while walking or hiking.
  • Carry a whistle, can with rocks, or other noisemaker to scare off coyotes.
  • Dispose of any trash or pet waste in secured containers.

Prevention is Key

Coyote encounters resulting in human injury can and do occur in California. Coyotes – like most animals - can be unpredictable. Most coyote attacks occur in relation to a food source or attractant drawing the coyote close to people, pets, or livestock. A food conditioned, or habituated coyote may become bold and act aggressively towards people. Prevention is the key.

If you encounter a coyote – and it sees you:

  • Keep a safe distance. Clap hands, make noise (e.g., whistle, noisemaker), and allow it to move away on its own.

If you encounter a coyote – and it approaches you:

  • Make yourself look bigger by lifting and waving arms.
  • Make noise by yelling, using noisemakers, or whistles. If small children are present, keep them close to you.

If you encounter a coyote – and it attempts to attack a person or pet:

  • Get to a safe location
  • If a person was bitten or scratched by the coyote, call 9-1-1 and seek medical attention. Notify the nearest CDFW office after contacting local authorities.

Additional Resources

Reminder: Code of Regulations, Title 14, § 251.1. Harassment of Animals prohibits harassment (defined as an intentional act which disrupts an animal's normal behavior patterns) which includes, but is not limited to feeding of wildlife. This section does not apply to a landowner or tenant who drives or herds birds or mammals for the purpose of preventing damage to private or public property, including aquaculture and agriculture crops.