ESCONDIDO, Calif. – People living in the neighborhoods of Del Dios and Carmel Mountain say they have noticed a significant increase in coyotes in their streets and yards. “The coyotes are getting more bold,” Carmel Mountain resident Patty Estorga said. “We have more coyotes roaming now at odd hours of the day,” another resident, Gwen Leslie, said.
Andrew Hughan, with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, says the issue is not unique to these neighborhoods and most animals change in habits could be explained by many reasons. Habitat loss is one cause he says, noting home and road construction in the areas both east and west of Interstate 15. Hughan also says the dry spell could also be contributing as the animals could be looking for new water sources that dried up after the last big rainfall.
“The primary reason for this kind of behavior is loss of habitat. They may be looking for water sources,” Hughan told 10News in an email. “There have been lots of cases of more aggressive behaviors for sure, and at some point, local jurisdictions are going to have to take action. The animals are becoming habituated, losing their fear of humans, probably because of easy access to dogs and cats and there are residents feeding them, “helping” wildlife, which is illegal and dangerous.”
Del Dios, a community is southwest Escondido have noticed a similar spike in coyote sightings and encounters.
Del Dios resident Mike said that "yesterday, had a coyote in front of my neighbor's house on Cabrillo Place. He was not too scared of me, an kept looking into my neighbor's yard. I am afraid someone is feeding the coyotes, either directly, or indirectly. Don't feed them, or leave any pet food outside for extended periods."
Another Del Dios resident named Kim had this to say "Watch your cats and small animals. Had a pack of coyote's in my yard. Six of them, and more ran down from our bank...and there has been one hanging out here all hours of the day for the last few weeks, he's not afraid either."
Del Dios resident Sara stated "the coyotes are getting brave. This morning my three year old was in our gated patio and I was right inside the door and I heard her say coyote. I came out to see a big dark colored coyote sitting in the middle of the road staring at her. It freaked me out. So it doesn't seem safe to leave little people or pets outside unattended at the moment..."
Del Dios resident Renee mentioned "Wild kingdom in Del Dios today. This morning around 9, broad daylight, I saw
a gorgeous coyote strolling on 4th. Right down the middle of the street, bold as you please. Then a few minutes ago on Date a large white egret was consuming either a vole or a gopher. Didn't know they ate rodents."
Del Dios resident Jerralynn noted "with the cold nights, rabbits, squirrels even mice critters are not out and
about much if at all, until it warms up a bit.... That leaves not enough food for the coyotes during the night.... We just have to be aware they will be out more, especially in the early mornings, and come closer in to where the critters may have taken refuge nearer to houses. They are out around (some times two or three at a time) Nutmeg, 4th and 3rd early mornings and evenings starting around 4 or 5P often. Be especially careful walking dogs on 4th and Nutmeg as the large number of quail that roost on the 4 corners there and the many bunnies...... Well you know."