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Coyotes are members of the family Canidae and are known for their ability to adapt to basically any terrestrial habitat, including urban areas.  Adult western coyotes range in size from 25 – 35 pounds.  They communicate with a variety of distinctive vocalizations which likely have many purposes, among which is maintaining territorial boundaries.

These adaptable animals will eat almost anything.  They hunt rabbits, rodents, fish, frogs, and even deer.  They also eat insects, snakes, fruit, grass and carrion.   It is common for them to prey upon livestock (e.g., sheep goats, calves) and domestic pets or do damage to drip lines in orchards and landscaping.  They can become habituated to their environment and have been documented to cause severe injury when they have attacked humans.


Red Fox

Gray and Red foxes are both widely distributed and live in varied habitats including forests, grasslands, mountains, agricultural, and urban areas.  They are easily identified by their distinct coloration and size (gray with reddish tips and white chest, 7 – 12 lbs. for gray fox; reddish brown, black tips, often white tipped tail, 10-15 lbs. for red fox).

Both species are solitary nocturnal hunters that feed on rodents, rabbits, birds, and other small wildlife.  Foxes will also eat fruits and vegetables, but their diet will vary based on availability.  If living among humans, foxes will opportunistically feed on kitchen waste and pet food.  Gray fox in urban areas can become aggressive towards people and pets during the denning season (April – July).   Foxes often prey upon livestock such as lambs, kid goats, and poultry.  In addition, Red Fox have been implicated in contributing to the decline of various endangered birds, such as the California Clapper Rail.

Both species have been identified as potential reservoirs of zoonotic disease.  Diseases that have been documented in gray and red fox include rabies, canine distemper, canine hepatitis, canine parvovirus, sarcoptic mange, Q fever, and toxoplasmosis.  They are also often infected with various intestinal parasites.  Of these, Toxocara canis may warrant concern for transmission to domestic dogs and humans.



Raccoons are found throughout North America with the exception of extreme elevations and very arid regions.  They are omnivorous, consuming everything from small wildlife (e.g. rodents, birds, frogs, grubs, etc.) to fruits and nuts.  They will also readily consume human food sources such as commercial pet food and kitchen waste.  The raccoon is very adaptable and does particularly well in urban settings.  In the urban environment raccoons often live beneath decks and outbuildings, and within the attics and walls of homes.  Raccoons are often the cause of damage to private property.  Examples of damage include, tearing apart roofs to gain access to attics and digging up lawns in search of worms and grubs.  In rural areas they may do damage to crops (e.g. field corn, berries) or prey upon poultry. 

Diseases that have been documented within the species include rabies, encephalitis, canine distemper, histoplasmosis, trypanosomiasis, coccidiosis, toxoplasmosis, Q fever, tularemia, listeriosis, tuberculosis, leptospirosis, mange and raccoon roundworm.  Raccoon roundworm has been documented to cause neurologic disease in humans, domestic animals and wildlife.



Opossums are common in most habitats in eastern, central and western North America.   Adult opossums are the size of an average sized domestic cat. They have grey to black fur, black eyes and ears, pink nose, feet, rat-like tail and a pointed nose. Opossums average 7 young per litter which become independent as early as 4 months and sexually mature at 6 months.

Opossums are nocturnal and omnivorous; they eat insects, snails, rodents, berries, fruit, grasses, leaves, and carrion.  They are often attracted to the urban environment by the availability of water, pet food, fallen fruit, compost piles, etc.  In addition, urban settings provide an abundance of den sites, such as within the attics of homes, in garages and sheds, or in wood piles. 

Their abundance in urban areas often leads to conflict with humans.  Common complaints are the defecation of feces and urine, consumption and contamination of pet food, flea infestations and damage to homes.  Diseases associated with the species and known to be a threat to humans and domestic animals include: tuberculosis, tularemia, relapsing fever, herpes virus, salmonella, spotted fever, trichomoniasis, murine typhus, yellow fever, Chagas’ disease, and toxoplasmosis.  They also harbor fleas, ticks, lice, mites and a suite of endoparasites that have potential for spreading disease to humans.


Carpenter Bees
Mountain Lion

Mountain lions are large tan colored cats that average 100 – 150 pounds for adults. They once roamed nearly all of the United States, but now have been basically extirpated from the Midwest.  In the rest of their range their population is stable.  Mountain lions occupy habitats ranging from high elevation forests to deserts and will most often select secluded areas where the chance of disturbance is less.

Mountain lions are solitary hunters and spend most of their lives alone. They prey upon deer, porcupines, antelope, hares, bighorn sheep, coyotes, fox, raccoons, skunks, domestic livestock, etc.  The cat uses stealth and sudden power, stalking their prey until an opportunity arrives to attack, then going for the neck with a powerful bite. Once they have killed their prey their typical pattern is to take it to a secluded area or cache site and then cover it with dirt and other debris in order hide it from scavengers and possibly reduce the rate of decomposition.  They have great speed for short distances and can leap greater than 20 ft. from a standstill.
Mountain lions typically avoid contact with humans, but in areas where there is an above average level of human activity they can become habituated to people and may become a threat.  There have been human fatalities in recent years as the result of a mountain lion attack, but attacks are statistically rare.  Humans should be aware of their surroundings when living or recreating in mountain lion habitat.  If confronted by a lion one should stay calm, back away slowly, do not run, raise arms, act large and fight back.


Honey Bees
Striped Skunk

Striped skunks are widely distributed throughout North America.  The species forages at night on grubs, earthworms, large arthropods, small rodents, eggs and birds.  They may also prey upon poultry and consume pet food.  Striped skunks breed in late winter and then, after a 2 month gestation, deliver an average of 6 offspring.  These animals desire a den in a sheltered location, such as culvert pipes, wood piles and abandoned animal burrows.  In urban settings, they often live under homes and decks.

When inhabiting urban environments striped skunks can do significant damage to personal property.  Spraying while under homes or other human occupied buildings is a common complaint.  They also regularly dig up turf grass and gardens while searching for earthworms and grubs.  Diseases that have been documented within the species include: rabies, leptospirosis, listeriosis, canine distemper, canine hepatitis, histoplasmosis, Q-fever, Chagas’ disease, toxoplasmosis, and tularemia. 


Honey Bees

Most bobcats are brown or brownish red, a white underbelly with black spots and short black-tipped tail.  Adult bobcats average about 20 lbs., but have been documented as heavy as 40 lbs. in the northern reaches of its range.  Bobcats are crepuscular and nocturnal.  Although they are not often seen, they reside throughout North America and adapt well to such diverse habitats as forests, swamps, deserts, and even suburban areas.

Bobcats may prey upon animals much larger than themselves.  They have been documented killing adult deer and adult domestic sheep.  However, they generally eat smaller animals such as rabbits, birds, mice, and squirrels.  They can come into conflict with humans when they prey on sheep, goats, poultry and domestic cats.

Bobcats are solitary animals. Females choose a secluded area to raise litters of one to six young kittens and will remain with their mother for 9 to 12 months. During this time they will learn to hunt before starting out on their own.




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