Coyote sightings in El Cerrito prompt warning from officials

Coyote sightings in El Cerrito prompt warning from officials

Officials in El Cerrito warned Friday of a number of sightings of coyotes in the city and offered a link to tips on how residents can live harmoniously with their wild neighbors.

To be clear, we like sharing land with coyotes because they help keep rodent populations in check, according to experts with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. We also have little reason to fear coyotes, as they are by nature fearful of humans and thus keep their distance. But when given access to food and garbage, coyotes “lose caution and fear” and can cause property damage and threaten human safety, the experts said.

So the basic way to ensure coyotes aren’t scouring in your backyard for grub is to never leave food out — not even pet food or the bird feeder — and also don’t leave out sources of water. Make certain to tightly close garbage containers that can’t be tipped over. Don’t leave small children or pets outside unattended and provide secured enclosures for rabbits, chickens, etc. Also, pick up fallen fruit and cover compost piles.

If you are followed by a coyote, make loud noises, and if that fails hurl rocks in the animal’s direction, according to experts.