Coyotes becoming a growing concern in Saratoga


Nighttime video of a family of coyotes taken by Santa Clara County Vector Control in the backyard of a Saratoga home last month shows the animals only 20 feet from the back door.

Coyote populations in Santa Clara County are exploding and so are calls to Vector Control. They have received double the calls from last year, especially in Saratoga.

"We have a general area near Prospect and Saratoga where we've had a number of calls recently, probably where the coyotes have made incursions, north of 85 freeway, and they've been taking a lot of cats in that area," Vector Control spokesperson Noor Tietze said.

Larry Mehringer, who lives in Saratoga Woods, says vector control sent out warnings for his neighborhood.

"I've heard from a couple of neighbors that they believe their cats are missing and fear the coyotes have gotten them, so we wanted to keep our dog safe," Mehringer said.

The highest concentrations of coyotes in the county are in San Jose, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga and along the western foothills.

"Once they move into these areas they stay until they have their pups and then the pups will actually get chased out by the parents when they're old enough and they'll start colonizing new areas," Tietze said.

Most coyotes scavenge for food left outside in established neighborhoods like the one that runs along Saratoga Creek.

"Coyotes love a creekside or green habitat, it's perfect, they have water, they have cover and then they have this whole open area where they can hunt rodents," Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley Director Stephanie Ellis said.

Thought to only roam at night, coyotes roaming neighborhoods during the day has a lot of people on edge, especially when it comes to pets and small children.

"Just like a small dog or cat, a toddler can be a target for a coyote," Tietze said.

Vector Control recommends that people keep their pet food indoors and report any coyote sightings.

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