General Coyote Behavior
Coyotes are typically highly active at night, though they can be spotted during the day. They are naturally fearful of humans, but may become more comfortable if given easy access to human food, garbage, pet food and small domestic pets.
Breeding season typically occurs January and February with pups born in March or April. During the Spring, coyotes are more active as they care for their young and search for food and water. Dens can be found in storm drains, under storage sheds, holes in vacant lots, parks, golf courses, or in dark and dry places.
Coyotes eat small animals such as rodents, squirrels, gophers, opossums, raccoons, skunks and foxes. They have also been known to eat dead animals.
NOTE: It is illegal to trap and relocate wildlife (California Code of Regulations, Title 14, § 465.5). CA Fish & Wildlife has jurisdiction over wildlife. Aggressive wildlife incident reports can be made with California Fish & Wildlife directly.
*California Fish & Wildlife will only respond if a human is attacked by a coyote.
Please report coyote sightings to the Santa Clara County Vector Control District. Palo Alto Animal Control will only repont to report of sick, injured, dead, or aggressive Coyotes. We do not require notification of healthy coyote sightings.
Walking your pets
• Keep your pets on a fixed-length leash at all times when walking them. Retractable leashes allow dogs to travel an unsafe distance away from you.
• If your pets seem nervous and frightened when outside, they may have smelled a nearby coyote.
• Do not hike, bike, or jog alone. Be aware of your surroundings.
• Avoid activity when coyotes are most active–dawn, dusk, and at night.
• Keep a close watch on animals and small children.
• Do not approach a coyote or mountain lion.
• If you encounter a coyote, do not run; instead face the animal, make noise and try to look bigger by waving your arms; throw rocks or other objects. Pick up small children & dogs.
• If attacked, fight back.
• If a coyote attacks a person, immediately call 911.
Make Coyotes & Lions Uncomfortable
• Haze wild animals. Use loud noises to scare coyotes and mountain lions away (e.g., yell, clap, air horn, whistle, or shaking a can with marbles/coins inside). Tolerating their presence encourages wildlife to remain nearby and lose their fear of humans. For more information on hazing, click here.(PDF, 3MB)
• Stray dogs or cats can compete for food with coyotes and may be eaten themselves. Call Animal Control to report stray or aggressive animals at 650-329-2413.
• Trim and clear brush, and pick up fallen fruit which attracts coyotes and their prey including rats, mice, and birds.
• Secure your garbage and recycle bin lids.
• Small children and pets shouldn’t play outside unsupervised.
• Bring pets in at night.