Coyote caught in a snare

As coyote numbers increase in cities across Southern California, they become accustomed to the presence of people, especially if people do not harass them. Studies of coyote attacks on pets and on humans have revealed a predictable pattern of change in coyote behavior in these environments (Table 1). This progression is accelerated when coyotes are provided abundant food, either unintentionally or intentionally, in residential areas. When it reaches the point where pets are being attacked or coyotes are seen in neighborhoods in early morning or late afternoon, area-wide corrective actions are recommended to prevent an escalation in attacks on humans. If coyotes are seen near your home, teach your children to identify them, recognize the potential for danger, and know what to do if they come in contact with a coyote.

Table 1. Sequence of increasingly aggressive coyote behaviors.
1. Increase in coyote sightings on streets and in yards at night.
2. Increase in coyotes approaching adults and/or taking pets at night.
3. Coyotes on streets, and in parks and yards, in early morning/late afternoon.
4. Coyotes chasing or taking pets during the day time. At this point, trapping is usually recommended.
5. Coyotes attacking and taking pets on leash or near owners; chasing joggers, bicyclists, or other adults.
6. Coyotes seen in and around children’s play areas, school grounds, and parks in midday.
7. Coyotes acting aggressively toward adults in midday.


Critter Busters Specialized Trapping Programs

Critter Busters offers unique coyote trapping services which have proven over 98% successful in resolving coyote issues at a variety of sites including local municipalities, homeowner associations, schools, military bases and private residences.

Our programs have been developed by local biologists and trapping specialists in an effort to resolve coyote issues in the most effective and responsible way possible. Our goal is to remove only the offending coyotes while still providing results. Eradication is never the answer for any pest control issue. Instead, science and research driven methods are used to provide control and management of the problem population.

Focus on Repeat Offenders

Coyote vs. Dog

Our programs focus on targeting problem coyotes. Removing a small number of coyotes, as well as educating communities on how to avoid attracting coyotes and other wildlife will help instill more natural behaviors in the remaining population. This will not only reduce the number of incidents, but will also result in fewer coyotes needing to be trapped.

Solutions for Problem Areas

In areas that have recurring issues with coyotes, we recommend routine coyote trapping services twice per year, instead of waiting until there is an incident. Optimally, trapping should be done in late February and/or early March (before the coyotes have their young) and then again in October/November (prior to mating season at the beginning of the year). Because total eradication is not a feasible solution, scheduling a trapping twice per year will be the most efficient way to maintain the coyote population at an acceptable level and will help reduce injury to people and pets.

Behavior - Keeping Coyotes Wild

Coyotes can be found in most suburban areas and are very adaptable to different environments. Urban neighborhoods in particular contain numerous areas that provide food, water, and harborage.

Coyotes are opportunistic animals and will quickly determine available food sources in an area. In an urban setting, instead of hunting rabbits and rodents, coyotes will scavenge through garbage, eat pet food, and even prey on domestic pets. Once this type of behavior is established, it is difficult to change and trapping usually becomes necessary.

Coyote Den
Coyote Den

The typical breeding time in Southern California for coyotes is February through March. The coyote pups are then born in the spring. Coyote activity can increase greatly in the spring/summer months as the young coyotes are being reared and food requirements increase. Activity can also be high in early winter when juvenile coyotes separate from their mothers.

If you or your pets are approached by an aggressive coyote, try to frighten it away by shouting in a deep voice, waving your arms, throwing objects at the coyote, and looking it directly in the eyes. Stand up if you are seated. If you are wearing a coat or vest, spread it open like a cape or lift your jacket above your head so that you appear larger than you are. Retreat from the situation by walking slowly backward so that you do not turn your back on the coyote.



Education is key and an important part of our coyote management program. It is important to provide information to clients so they know what precautions to take and how they can contribute to helping reduce issues with wildlife by modifying their own practices in and around their homes.

Tips For Homeowners

In addition to routine trapping services, there are some precautions that homeowners can take to decrease the chance of conflict with coyotes in their neighborhood.

  • Never feed coyotes or other wild animals. They lose their fear of humans. See the CA Department of Fish and Wildlife "Keep Me Wild" Campaign here.
  • Never leave small children unsupervised outdoors if coyotes have been spotted.
  • Remove food and water sources such as bird feeders/baths, pet food, etc.
  • Control exterior rodent populations.
  • Pick up fallen fruit and cover compost piles.
  • Use garbage containers with tight fitting lids.
  • Feed pets indoors when possible. If they are fed outside, remove pet food immediately after.
  • Store pet food where it is inaccessible to wildlife. Never leave pet food out overnight- this is useful for rodents too.
  • Do not leave small pets unattended outdoors.
  • Trim shrubs up off the ground and thin dense landscaping to remove areas where coyotes can live and hide.
  • Install motion-sensitive lighting around homes.
  • If you see coyotes around your home, school or place of business, shout and/or make loud noises, throw rocks, etc. to discourage them from approaching.

When it comes to coyote removal and nuisance wildlife, Critter Busters is the top pest control company in Southern California. We currently serve the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, Santa Barbara, San Bernardino, San Diego & Ventura.