CITRUS HEIGHTS, Calif. — Coyotes have reappeared in Citrus Heights ahead of their usual season, according to residents on Facebook. A coyote was spotted standing in the middle of the road on Auburn Boulevard and Halifax Street.
It's not the first time these animals have been seen in the streets of residential areas, and it certainly won't be the last.
“Coyotes come to Citrus Heights because we have the perfect habitat for them. We have green belts, natural resources... and residents with large parcels of land,” said Debra Nathan, Police Services Supervisor at Citrus Heights Police Department.
Although coyotes are nocturnal, Nathan says it's not uncommon for them to appear during the day once they get used to daily human life.
“Coyotes that live among humans can be more comfortable coming out in the daytime… looking for food,” said Nathan.
Coyotes aren't the only wild animals finding themselves in residential parts of cities. Skunks, opossums and raccoons are among the most frequent visitors because they forage backyards, seek shelter under porches and can potentially cause damage to structures, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“[Coyotes are] smart and have adapted to find food in garbage, squirrels, small pets… stray cats and dogs will also be taken advantage of,” said Peter Tira from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. “Keep your pets indoors, dogs on leashes, and don’t leave food outside.”
Mating season for coyotes usually starts in January and ends in March with pups being born in May. Some of them begin to disperse in late fall to seek new territory where they could be seen exploring more often, according to Project Coyote, a non-profit organization based in Northern California.
The Citrus Heights Police Department advises people to distance themselves, make loud noises and call animal control services at their non-emergency number – (916) 727-5500 – if the coyote looks injured, sick, or is in a public space. If there is any threat to public safety, call 911.
The police department offered extra tips on how people can safely live with wildlife:
- Bring pets in at night
- Do not leave pet food outside
- Secure trash cans
- Never feed wildlife
- Install motion lighting
- Avoid using bird feeders
- Trim shrubbery, clean up green waste to reduce hiding places
- Report dead or injured animals/pets to animal services
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