Bears and Alligators

Coyotes in Woodland Hills, Oh My!

File this under don’t you have anything more freaking substantial to worry about?

The Daily News and several other So Cal publications have found the following to be, well, news:

Police warned today that coyotes have been seen recently in neighborhoods in Woodland Hills and West Hills.
Residents should use caution when encountering such animals….”

The story also mentioned that residents who spot such critters are asked to call the proper authorities make a “wildlife incident report.”


Yo, flatlanders. We in Topanga see coyotes daily. Not “recently.” Daily. Should we also be making “wildlife incident reports?” If so, with what frequency? If we see, say, three different coyotes in the course of a 24-hour period, should we save them up and make a single wildlife incident report? Or would you prefer we call you as they happen?


Hey, mountain lions and bears are worth a report, no doubt about it. And in West Glacier, Montana, where my family has a cabin, one is asked to call if there is a griz sighting anywhere near human habitation. Sometimes people call. Most times, they don’t. In 20 years we’ve called once. However it was a very, very big bear we saw picking serviceberries in the back yard one night. Very big. Humongous, actually. And not all that friendly-looking.

But coyotes? Really?

Last year, I had one coyote who showed up on my front porch so frequently hoping to find a bit of stray dog kibble that I considered naming him, except that I knew he had unpleasant designs on Merlin the cat.

The dog chased him off most times, until she got too deaf to notice his approach. After that, if I heard him his paws on the porch (his step was distinctive), I’d creep up to the door, a squirt bottle filled with water in my hand, and try to discourage him with a well-aimed watery steam. This was not, admittedly, a terribly dignified or effective solution. The usual weekly score was coyote 7, me 0.

Eventually, the coyote moved on of his own accord. Although I knew it was far safer for the cat, I actually sorta missed him.


Look, this isn’t a social justice issue. It is, as my tech son would describe it, an ID ten T issue—which sometimes deserves comment too. (It’s a geek joke. Substitute the numeral for the word.)

Now back to criminal justice and all that.

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