Living with Urban Wildlife
Many residents of Laguna Niguel experience occasional visits from local wildlife. This is a part of our choice to live near open spaces of nature. But late night forages in trash cans, messes left behind, and the occasional “setting up camp” in or around property can make our furry neighbors a bit of a nuisance.
The following tips help discourage wildlife activity, including coyotes, in your neighborhood. By minimizing food, water, and shelter in your yard, you can help alleviate wildlife encounters and property losses.
- Keep pet food indoors and do not leave food of any kind outside at night. Food left out at night will be taken as a welcome invitation by wildlife, and may prompt future visits.
- Keep cats and small dogs indoors or in the close presence of an adult.
- Remove any fruit which has fallen to the ground.
- Store trash in covered, heavy-duty containers.
- Keep yards free from potential shelter such as thick brush and weeds, and enclose the bottoms of porches and decks.
- Eliminate garbage, debris, lumber piles, etc.
- Check fencing and try to eliminate access points to roof tops. Change automatic sprinkler settings regularly.
Orange County residents experience occasional visits from wildlife, especially those that reside in areas next to protected parks and wilderness trails. During spring time, these visits may become more frequent as this is the breeding season for many wild animals, including coyotes.
In Laguna Niguel, many residents have expressed concerns about recent coyote sightings. Coyotes in urban areas are accustomed to human activity and often have little fear of humans. While not normally a danger to adults, coyotes will display defensive behavior if they feel threatened. Further, coyotes pose a threat to cats, small dogs, and small children. The "Urban Coyote" brochure provides valuable information on the steps you can take to reduce your interaction with coyotes and to protect yourself, your family, and your pets. CLICK HERE to also view an informative video about dealing with potential encounters.
Coyotes are naturally timid animals and will usually flee at the sight of a human. If they linger or approach, it’s time to begin “hazing.” This is a term applied to the following actions that can be taken to scare coyotes and chase them away:
- Be as loud as possible and make noise (e.g. whistle, blow a horn). Do not run or turn your back.
- Wave your arms, clap your hands, and shout in an authoritative voice.
- Throw small stones, sticks, tennis balls, or small objects. The intent is to scare, not injure.
- Spray with a hose, if available, or a squirt gun filled with water.
Taking preventative measures should help deter wildlife from visiting your property. Any incident (e.g. sighting, encounter, or conflict) with a coyote should be immediately reported by calling (888) 334-2258. In an emergency, please contact 911. Residents can also sign up for Coyote Cacher, a University of California Cooperative Extension alert system and research initiative designed to report sightings of coyotes and collect information on coyote conflicts in California.
Mountain Lion Information
Mountain lions have long been part of the natural environment in our area, and until recently, sightings have been relatively low. Mountain lions hunt deer, coyotes, raccoons, skunks, opossums, rats, rabbits, and other animals that live in the area. They are solitary, evasive, and avoid humans as much as possible. They typically do not often prey on domestic animals.
Mountain lions are helpful in maintaining order in our ecosystem and assist to keep other wildlife numbers in check. If you see a mountain lion, report the sighting immediately to California Department of Fish & Wildlife at 562-596-3885. If you are in a life threating situation, please call 911 immediately. For more information on mountain lions, please CLICK HERE to view an educational brochure.
Report Wildlife Sighting
Mission Viejo Animal Services actively tracks reported sightings of apex predators in our jurisdiction. Apex predators are considered to be Mountain Lions, Coyotes, and Bobcats. If you have spotted an apex predator, please CLICK HERE and complete the form. Please include as much information as possible. These reports are monitored daily. If you require emergency assistance, please contact Mission Viejo Animal Services at 949-470-3045. If you are in a life threating situation, call 911 immediately.