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Have You Seen a Surge of Coyotes in Mill Valley?

Residents report sightings on Douglas Drive, Park and Walnut, and near the Dipsea Steps on Marion Ave. Have you seen any coyotes, or heard them howling?

The call of the wild may be getting more frequent in Mill Valley, according to local readers who say they've seen an increase in coyote sightings.

One of our readers, Anne Murphy, said in an email on Friday:

"I spotted a very healthy looking coyote walking across Douglas Drive last night [at] about 8:30 p.m. Douglas Drive is a cul-de-sac off Edgewood just over the Hoemestead Valley. I lost my beloved cat to a coyote near Cowboy Rock in July and I'm afraid he is coming for my other cat or other animals in the area. Please be on the alert."

We asked our Facebook fans if they've noticed anything and they responded, saying the animals have been more active lately, and can be heard howling "at all hours of the night."

And even during the day.

One Facebook commenter said about four or five weeks ago he "saw a coyote amblin' down the sidewalk at Park and Walnut, in daylight at 10 a.m." And a few weeks ago a woman saw one on her deck, near the Dipsea steps on Marion. It was just as her daughter's two cats had busted out a screen and escaped, but thankfully the felines were unharmed.

So, is there really a surge in coyotes?

Carrie Harrington at the Marin Humane Society, which tracks wild animal calls, said reports of coyotes and moutain lions are not uncommon but she hasn't seen an increase lately. They usually breed between February and May, but can sometimes breed around this time of year as well.

"It’s possible people are seeing them and not reporting them to us," Harrington said. Residents are encouraged to call even if they think they saw something but aren't sure.

"It allows us to get a sense of where the sigings are throughout the community, and if there are any hot spots," she said.

If so, they'll increase awareness efforts in that area, and educate the public on the precautions they can take - an obvious one being to keep cats inside and walk dogs on leashes, espeicially at night when coyotes are more active.

"With coyotes, they're kind of garbage bandits, and they're opportunistic," Harrington said. So that means keeping pet food inside as well, and be sure to tightly fasten your garbage lids.

You can also elimate the dense bushes in your yard that tend to attract rodents or racoons - which in turn attract coyotes. And pick up flowers and fruits under trees."

"Don't give them a reason," Harrington said.

Basically, create an environment in your yard that doesn't attract them, and  "keep our wildlife wild," by not making them feel comfortable around humans. 

Have you seen or heard any coyotes in the area? Let us know in the comments.

Loren Moore September 18, 2012 at 08:16 PM
Once during an extreme low tide, I saw a coyote trotting across the mud of the north end of the Bolinas Lagoon. I often see them on the grassy hills above Stinson Beach.
Annie September 19, 2012 at 06:10 AM
Sept 18, 2012 There is clearly an uptick in coyote activity right now...and this is early. Typically the peak season is Oct-Jan, when pups are out of den (as of Sept) and adults are establishing territory for mating season. Our pets are being "picked off" during this time, day or night! Heads up owners. They LOVE fallen fruit!
Annie September 19, 2012 at 06:55 AM
fyi, as much as I love the Humane Society of Marin, they only take reports. I personally experienced this as I took my beloved "hollowed out" Tuxedo cat to them for cremation, two years ago, a victim of a coyote at 7am. Last year, I frantically called for help, to no avail, as I witnessed an elderly brown lab being lunged at his neck by a coyote. My yelling deterred the coyote. Be vigilent with your pets. This time of year, they hunt day and night. Pick your apples and pears. The fallen ones, do attract. I have talked with biologists from Marin and Sonoma and they say there are plenty of rodents in "their territory". We are making it easier for them. Do aviary fencing rather than the easy to crawl up rectangular fencing. They dig under fencing. Place cheap sonoma field stone along base. Do report sightings and esp incidences to the humane society and jkrause.dfg.ca.gov. They need to know the uptick and most will come Nov and Dec. We have a problem in Marin that needs to be addressed!
Not popular September 23, 2012 at 10:16 PM
There has been a huge uptick in Coyote activity lately. Especially along E. Blithedale. I hear them howling every night. In my opinion they're way to many of them in such a small area. Let's be realistic here, Coyotes are not cute wildlife that should be allowed to prey on pets and eat our garbage. The reality is they are destructive and opportunistic varmints and need to be controlled. Ask any marin county rancher and they will tell you to kill one that comes near your home. There's a reason CA Fish and Game allows coyote hunting year round with no bag limit.
Fernanda Hoekstra November 25, 2012 at 03:20 AM
I saw today a coyote crossing east Blithdale near Whole Foods 11/24/2012 at 7Pm He look kind of confused

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