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Be cautious of wild animals in Cerritos

Updated January 20, 2011

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Coyotes | Raccoons, skunks and opossums

From time to time, wild animals such as raccoons, opossums, coyotes and skunks wander into residential areas of Cerritos. This is most common in neighborhoods located near the river channels. The animals may be dangerous and could cause some destruction. Long Beach Animal Control advises citizens not to approach wild animals and to be cautious when a wild animal is sighted.

Coyotes

California coyotes have adapted to residential neighborhoods, parks, and open spaces in urban and suburban areas, and have seemingly lost their fear of humans. This may be a result of behavioral changes that have occurred over several generations of coyotes, in localities where predator control is no longer practiced. Coyotes thrive in such areas because food, water and shelter are abundant, and coyotes living in these environments may come to associate humans with food and protection. Once attracted to suburban areas, they prey on the abundant rodents, rabbits, birds, house cats and small dogs that live in residential habitats. They also eat household garbage, pet food, and seeds and fruits of many garden and landscape plants. In some localities, this has resulted in the development of local coyote populations that seemingly ignore people, while a few coyotes have become increasingly aggressive toward humans. Some coyotes have stalked and even attacked children or adults, or have attacked pets being walked on a leash by their owners.

Cerritos residents who see a coyote in their neighborhood should attempt to frighten it away by shouting, throwing rocks, squirting it with a water hose, blowing portable air horns, or otherwise acting aggressively in order to reinforce the coyote’s fear of people. Motion-sensitive lights on houses or outbuildings may also deter coyotes from approaching.

If you or your pets are approached by an aggressive or fearless coyote, consider the following tips:

  • Shout in a deep voice.
  • Wave your arms.
  • Throw objects at the animal.
  • Look the coyote directly in the eyes.
  • Stand up if you are seated.
  • If you are wearing a coat or vest, spread it open like a cape so that you appear larger.
  • Retreat from the situation by walking slowly backward so that you do not turn your back on the coyote.

Raccoons, skunks and opossums

Raccoons, skunks and opossums are constantly in search of food as well. They have been known to “move in” to residential properties. Homeowners are encouraged to eliminate places that could become a den for wild animals. After ensuring that there is no animal present inside, residents should fill in tree cavities, cap chimneys and seal off attics.

The most effective protection from wild animal problems, including rabies, is a barrier and discouragement. Discourage wild animals from entering your property with the following tips:

  • Remove any potential den from your property.
  • Feed your pets indoors if possible or take the outdoor dishes and leftovers inside as soon as possible.
  • Do not leave pet food outside at night.
  • Keep trash cans in the garage or utility room until trash pickup day.
  • Fence your garden.
  • Vaccinate your pets.

Remember to report any physical contact with any wild animals to the Long Beach Animal Control (LBAC). For more information, contact the LBAC at (562) 570-7387.

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