Are my children and pets safe in my yard?
Wild animals do not know that a fence surrounding your yard is a boundary line they should not cross; to them it’s just a minor obstacle. They are agile jumpers, climbers and diggers and are experts at traversing various obstacles every day. If your fence is less than 8ft tall, is not buried under the ground or has wide bars that are easy to move through, it will not keep wildlife out of your yard. Most animals venture through neighborhoods and yards at night. Some animals may move through neighborhoods because it is the only way to get from one wildland habitat, surrounded by development, to another wildland habitat. But some animals have learned that neighborhoods and yards routinely offer a buffet of easy to get food resources such as pet food, trash, compost materials, fruit from trees and prey animals including rabbits, rats, mice, chickens, goats and free ranging outdoor cats and maybe even our dogs in their yard. When wild animals become comfortable around humans due to intentional and unintentional feeding from unsecured food resources, they tend to lose their fear of humans and learn to see neighborhoods and yards as a consistent place for food and/or a safe place to visit.
As a general precaution it is always a good idea to supervise children while playing outside, especially around streets, near a pool, around dogs and where wildlife maybe nearby or a concern.
Coyotes are generally afraid of humans and although it is rare, bold coyotes (often a product of habituation to humans from feeding or our indifference) have bitten humans, adults and children.
Pets (cats and dogs) and pet food should always be brought in at night. Pets should also be monitored when let out to go to the bathroom at night and early mornings. Although, coyotes are the animal most people worry about when it comes to their pets, you should beware that owls have been known to prey on small pets and an inquisitive dog could walk away from a snake encounter with a bite on the nose.
Many steps can be taken to protect your property and minimize encounters and potential conflicts from coyotes and other wildlife including bobcats, raccoons, skunks, rattlesnakes and mountain lions.
- Do not purposely feed animals – animals begin to lose their fear of humans and will continue to return for more easy meals.
- Cleanup of unintentional food resources – feed pets inside, pick up fallen fruits, secure trash, secure compost piles.
- Keep pets indoors at night
- Move animals including; chickens, rabbits, goats, sheep and miniature horses into a secured enclosure at night.
- Monitor small children and pets while outside even in a fenced yard
- Install motion activated lighting
- Install motion activated sprinklers
- Remove cover and hiding places – Remove thick vegetation, debris piles, trim plants 2ft off the ground
Rock Star Changes
- Replace wrought iron (easy to walk through) with solid fence
- Regularly check fence line to make sure it’s secure, specifically along the ground
- Close up holes into attics, walls, sheds, under decks and under houses
- Remove trees or branches adjacent to fences that animals can climb.
- Secure fencing around your yard to minimize unwanted wildlife encounters
- Jumping animals fence height should be 6-8ft high. You can add a roller that spins on top that makes it more difficult for animals to get over (can make roller yourself with PVC piping or purchase online)
- Digging animals (this includes coyotes) bury fencing 16 inches below ground or bury L shaped footer 1 foot down with 1-2 foot out at a 90 degree angle.
- Snakes and rabbits can go under or through fencing. If fence is chain-link or wrought iron extend ¼ x ¼ inch wire 2 feet up and bury 16 inches underground.