Residents report uptick in coyote sightings

SAN DIEGO -- Coyotes are being spotted close to homes in residential neighborhoods across the county, and a wildlife expert tells FOX 5 that is because the animals are becoming more used to and less afraid of humans.

Recently, Jeremy Zaleski caught one on his surveillance camera attacking a skunk outside his Santee home.

I was shocked that it was so close. I’ve never seen them in my front yard,” Zaleski said.

Also recently, one was spotted prancing along a busy Escondido sidewalk in broad daylight. People in the North Park area have also reported seeing them.

“Coyotes are actually smart, intelligent creatures and they’re also very adaptable,” said Daniel DeSousa, director of the County of San Diego Department of Animal Services.

DeSousa said over the years, we have seen coyotes get closer and closer to us.

“They have realized that rather than having to chase down a rabbit to live they can go to someone’s backyard and eat the dog food,” DeSousa said.

DeSousa said it's up to us to scare them back to the place they belong.

“The phrase is actually called 'coyote hazing,'” DeSousa said.

DeSousa said if you see one, yell and throw rocks towards it.

“Honk your horns if you see them in your neighborhoods. We recommend people carrying the air horns that you see at some sporting events. What we have to do is make them feel not comfortable in our neighborhoods,” DeSousa said.

Now, knowing the creatures are getting too close for comfort, the Zaleski family is taking precautions and warning neighbors.

“It’s summer. Kids are out. Coyotes are out. The concern is pets, children, even adults. They will attack if hungry,” Zaleski said.

DeSousa said if your children or pets are outside to keep a close eye on them.