The Newport Beach Police Department’s Animal Control Unit sent out an alert Thursday about coyote activity.
Coyotes, native to the area, are found all over Orange County and are a critical component of the ecosystem, NBPD officials wrote in the message.
“Contrary to popular belief, these animals do not require open space or wild areas to survive. In fact, most of the coyotes found in urban environments are descended from generations of coyotes who have lived and flourished in the urbanized areas of Orange County,” the message reads. “Though they are far from domesticated, coyotes are very comfortable living alongside human beings.”
Animal Control advises residents to try and scare them away from neighborhoods by making loud noises, showing an aggressive posture, or spray them with a garden hose.
“While they are not normally a danger to humans, coyotes will display defensive behaviors if threatened or cornered,” police warn. “For everyone’s safety, it is essential that coyotes preserve their natural wariness of humans.”
Police also urged residents to leave a “comfortable distance” between themselves and any coyote they may encounter.
“If a coyote behaves aggressively, you have probably gotten too close to its prey or its family,” the message reads.
Children should be taught to stay away from unknown wild and domesticated animals.
“Unfortunately, some Newport Beach residents have lost pets to coyote attacks,” officials wrote. “Small pets in particular can easily become prey for these skilled predators. In a matter of minutes, a coyote can attack and remove a pet from a back yard that is enclosed by a six-foot fence or wall.”
Though coyotes generally hunt between sunset and sunrise, they are active at all hours of the day or night.
To protect kids, pets, and property, NBPD Animal Control officials suggest fencing off animal enclosures (fully-enclosed, if possible), keeping dogs on a leash (maximum of six feet), feeding pets indoors, and not allowing pets outside alone (even in a fenced area).
Authorities also recommend: Eliminate potential food and water sources, such as fallen fruit and standing water; store trash in heavy-duty containers; keep yards free of potential shelter materials, such as thick brush or weeds; and enclose the bottoms of porches and decks.
“Eradication and/or relocation (trapping, killing) of the urban coyote are not effective solutions,” authorities conclude in the message. “These programs have been shown to actually create a vacuum in nature, leading to larger litters of coyote pups and a long-term increase in the overall coyote population. Coyotes are actually beneficial to the balance of the local ecosystem, as they prey on rodents and other small wild animals.”
For more information, or to report an animal control issue, contact the Newport Beach Police Department at (949) 644-3717.