Timm, who served as director of the UC Hopland Research and Extension Center in Mendocino County, has 27 years of experience dealing with coyote management.
Timm said coyotes can find ample food in suburban and urban areas by scrounging through garbage and compost piles, eating pet food and even small dogs and cats. Water is available in ponds, birdbaths and pools. Some people intentionally feed coyotes.
“The difficulty is there is so little research on coyotes in suburban and urban areas because it is so hard to do,” Timm said.
Research conducted in the early 2000s by Timm and a Cal Poly Pomona professors found that coyotes habituate in urban areas in a predictable manner than can be observed along the following seven steps:
- Increased coyote presence on streets and in yards at night
- An increase in coyotes non-aggressively approaching adults and/or taking pets at night
- Coyotes present on streets or in parks and yards during morning or afternoon hours
- Coyotes chasing or taking pets in the daytime
- Coyotes attacking or taking pets while they are on a leash or near their owners, and coyotes chasing joggers, bicyclists, and other adults
- Coyotes present around children's play areas, schools or parks in the midday hours
- Coyotes acting aggressively toward adults in midday hours
“One of those steps is they start attacking and killing pets,” Timm said. “When they start doing that in the daytime, then it becomes very problematic and some of those coyotes are eventually going to become aggressive toward people."
According to Niamh Quinn, the UC ANR Cooperative Extension area vertebrate pest advisor, based at the UC ANR South Coast Research and Extension Center, there were six recorded coyote bites on humans in Irvine this year.