A girl suffered serious injuries in an encounter with a coyote Thursday night at a Southern California beach.
The young girl, who might have been bitten in the face, was hospitalized, but her injuries are not considered life threatening.
Officers were called at about 10 p.m. Thursday to the beach north of Huntington Beach Pier after reports of a coyote attack. Video showed the coyote running on the beach with patrol SUVs tracking its location.
The Huntington Beach Police Department is working with the California Department of Fish and Game to track the coyote.
Runners at the beach early Friday said coyote sightings there are common.
“We see them every single time,” said Eric Brown, who runs at the beach several times per week. “Usually, they chase us. I’ve never seen more than one chase us at a time. Your initial thought is they’re playing, but I do carry a very bright flashlight and pepper spray.”
Coyote sightings can be reported to 714-960-8811.
Coyotes are highly adaptable animals that have learned to live comfortably in many environments, including around humans. Wildlife experts say we’ve played a role in part by leaving food and garbage out for an attractive meal.
By nature, they’re fearful of humans. They primarily hunt rodents, and help keep that population under control, but will not ignore an easy snack.
Here’s list of coyote precautions from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
- Never feed or attempt to tame coyotes. The result may be deadly conflicts with pets or livestock, or serious injuries to small children.
- Do not leave small children or pets outside unattended.
- Install motion-sensitive lighting around the house.
- Trim ground-level shrubbery to reduce hiding places.
- Be aware that coyotes are more active in the spring, when feeding and protecting their young.
- If followed by a coyote, make loud noises. If this fails, throw rocks in the animal’s direction.
- If a coyote attacks a person, immediately contact the nearest Department of Fish and Wildlife or law enforcement office.
- Put garbage in tightly closed containers that cannot be tipped over.
- Remove sources of water, especially in dry climates.
- Bring pets in at night, and do not leave pet food outside.
- Avoid using bird feeders as they attract rodents and other coyote prey.
- Provide secure enclosures for rabbits, poultry and other livestock.
- Pick up fallen fruit and cover compost piles.
- Ask your neighbors to follow these tips.
Source: NBC Los Angeles