Jun 28 2016

Living With Urban Coyotes

Coyotes in California

The coyote is a member of the dog family, and is native to California. It closely resembles a small German shepherd dog with the exception of the long snout and bushy, black-tipped tail. The coyote’s high-pitched, yodel-like yapping can frequently be heard at night.

Coyotes are extremely adaptable and can survive on whatever food is available. Coyotes are an important part of the ecosystem, helping to keep the rodent population under control. They hunt rabbits, mice, birds, and other small animals. Coyotes are by nature fearful of humans.

If coyotes are given access to human food, pet food, or garbage, their behavior changes. They will quickly lose their natural fear of people and may become bold, even aggressive. Pets are often attacked, injured, or even killed by coyotes.

Use Negative Reinforcement

If coyotes begin frequenting your neighborhood, let them know they’re not welcome. Make loud noises, throw an object at them, or spray them with a garden hose. If you or your pets are approached by an aggressive coyote, pick up your pet or keep it on a short leash, and try to frighten the coyote by shouting in a loud deep voice, and by waving your arms to make yourself appear larger. If you are seated, stand up, retreat from the situation by walking slowly backwards so that you do not turn your back on the coyote. For everyone’s safety, it is essential that coyotes retain their natural wariness of humans.

Report Threat and Attacks Immediately

Immediately call 911 if you see a coyote behaving aggressively or attacking a person.

Report coyote sightings and related incidents or a deceased animal to the Torrance Police Department at (310)618-5641.

The Torrance Animal Control Office is open Monday through Thursday, and every other Friday, from 8:00am to $:00pm. You may contact the Torrance Animal Control Office at (310)618-3850, or by email at AnimalControl@TorranceCA.Gov.

Coyote Precautions

Residents, especially those living near open spaces, natural thoroughfares, or wild land preserves, are advised to give special attention to the following Do’s and Don’ts to safely coexist with the coyote.


  • Consider making your pet an indoor pet when living in an area that is known to be occupied by coyotes.
  • Keep your pet on a short leash.
  • Install motion-sensitive lighting around the house.
  • Eliminate thick ground cover, such as ivy and low shrubs from around dwellings to reduce protective cover for coyotes and make the area less attractive to rodents. Coyotes and other predators may be attracted to areas where rodents are concentrated.
  • Keep yards free from potential shelters such as thick brush and weeds, and enclose the bottoms of porches and decks.
  • Use a Coyote Shaker: A can containing a few coins or rocks which can be shaken and thrown at the coyote.
  • Teach children not to approach stray animals.


  • Don’t walk your pet during dusk or dawn, when coyotes tend to be more active.
  • Don’t allow pets to stay outdoors at night.
  • Don’t allow pets to roam from home unattended
  • Don’t feed wild animals
  • Don’t approach or attempt to “tame” coyotes

Secure Your Food and Trash

Allowing coyotes access to human food and garbage is reckless and can be deadly.

Coyotes primarily hunt rodents and rabbits for food, but will take advantage of whatever is available, including garbage, pet food, and small domestic animals.

    • Do not set your trash out for pick-up until the day of pick up to reduce attracting predators in the middle of the night.
    • Don’t leave trash cans uncovered
    • If you leave garbage outside, don’t use trash bags as garbage containers; coyotes can easily rip them open and scatter the contents.
    • Feed your pets indoors if possible
    • If you feed your pets outdoors, food dishes should be promptly emptied and removed after the pets have eaten.
    • Don’t leave water bowls for pets outdoors.
    • Remove any fruit which has fallen to the ground, and cover compost piles.
    • Provide secure enclosures for rabbits, poultry, and other outdoor animals.

Ask your neighbors to follow these tips.

Taking a few preventative measures should help deter unwanted wildlife from visiting your property. Please remember that if the three life sustaining elements are available (food, water and shelter), you are likely to encounter some form of wildlife in your area.

The coyote’s range covers the entire state of California. Most coyote conflicts occur along borders between urban and wild open areas.

The Torrance Animal Control will respond to a situation involving most wildlife which are sick, injured, deceased, or has had physical contact with a person or domestic animal.

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