Coyotes generally eat carrion (dead animals), berries and other vegetation, and hunt small animals such as mice, amphibians, snakes, birds. They hunt alone or in small family groups.
Many wildlife experts, including the National Park Service, have said that coyotes "are not interested in confronting people, even small children." The long-standing belief was that coyotes "are not aggressive toward humans unless humans attempt to feed or interact with coyotes." Perhaps because of drought conditions and wild fires that have disrupted the usual hunting grounds of coyotes in southern California, stories of coyote attacks on family pets and even children have become more frequent.
Southern California News Headlines
May 8, 2008 LAKE ARROWHEAD, California (near Los Angeles) - Shortly before noon, a mother's four children were playing in the front yard when their mother briefly stepped into their house to put away the camera she had been using to take pictures of her children. She returned to find a coyote had grabbed her daughter with its teeth and was dragging her 2-year-old daughter by the head.
May 7, 2008 TEMECULA, California - A baby coyote that had followed the family dog into the house through the doggie door was found by the babysitter. The mother coyote was waiting outside in the bushes.
May 4, 2008 CHINO HILLS, California (30 miles east of Los Angeles) - A father and his toddler were in a park when a coyote came after his toddler.
May 2, 2008 CHINO HILLS, California - A coyote tried to drag a 2-year-old girl from a sandbox in a San Bernardino County park. The girl's babysitter looked up to see the child in the coyote's mouth.
April 17, 2008 ARROW LAKES, Canada - A legally paraplegic Burton woman who intervened to save her dog from a coyote attack soon found herself the coyote’s target after she was knocked to the ground and bitten multiple times.
Living in a small horse community surrounded by foothills just two miles east of a major San Diego freeway, we are alerted like clock work every morning and evening by our Karelian Bear Dogs telling us that "our" coyotes are close by.
Coyotes are gray to tan in color, with long snouts, large erect ears and a bushy tail with a black tip. They stand about two feet high at the shoulder. When running, coyotes hold their tail down almost between their legs. They look similar to a German Shepard dog but have longer legs, longer snouts and bushier tails.