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You might see more coyotes around Sacramento as summer ends. What to do if you encounter one

Coyotes can be found throughout most of California, which can result in the wild dogs roaming into residential neighborhoods looking for food and water. And in Sacramento, you might start seeing more now than you have yet this year.

As the mating and pup dispersal season for coyotes approaches, it’s important to be aware of what to do if faced with a coyote encounter. However, “attacks on people are very rare,” according to the Humane Society website.

“Coyote activity is seasonal and pup dispersal around here is as early as now,” said Guy Galante, Wildlife Educator at Project Coyote, a Northern California-based nonprofit, in an email to The Bee.

During pup dispersal, young coyotes leave the pack and try to find their own territory, Galante said, which is why between now and November “one starts to see dead coyotes along Fair Oaks Blvd.”

Here’s what to expect and what to do if you encounter a coyote in the coming months:

Coyote life cycle

An estimated 250,000 to 750,000 coyotes live in the state, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Coyotes are most active at dusk and dawn.

However, during mating season and dispersing season coyotes tend to be more visible, according to the Project Coyote. Below is a look at the coyote life cycle, according to to the non-profit.

  • Breeding/mating activity from December to February

  • Den site selection from February to April

  • Birthing from April to May

  • Raising pups from May to August

  • Pup dispersal from September to November

What if I see a coyote?

Spotting a coyote in your neighborhood can be a scary encounter.

“The coyote is an extremely intelligent predator that has adapted to living in close proximity to humans,” the city of Sacramento wrote on its website.

Though it is important to keep in mind if a coyote is in an urban setting they are typically trying to get from point A to point B, Galante said to The Bee in June. Here are some tips to keep handy if you find yourself in a coyote encounter:

  • Keep your distance and let the coyote move through.

  • If the coyote starts approaching you, and you’re feeling threatened, make yourself big.

  • If you’re wearing a jacket, put your arms out and flap them like they are wings.

  • Stomp your feet.

  • Yell at the coyote and be very firm and say things like, “hey coyote, go away coyote!” In other words, use loud noises to scare it off.

It’s best to keep your dogs on leash and your cats inside if there’s a coyote in your neighborhood.

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