Wildlife and Our Community
The Village is surrounded by beautiful wilderness, meaning we live in close proximity to—and come in close contact with—all kinds of wildlife species. Some consider wildlife a nuisance or a threat; others enjoy animal sightings.
Here’s how to coexist peacefully and carefully with rattlesnakes, coyotes, bees and other wildlife.
Rattlesnake bites are uncommon but can lead to serious injury or worse. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 8,000 people are bitten in the U.S. every year by venomous snakes.
Rattlesnakes have a triangular head and, of course, a rattle at the end of their tail. They may only be seen without a rattle if it’s broken off. This distinguishes them from the other similar-looking snakes, like nonvenomous gopher snakes. Their scales are not smooth but “keeled”—raised and textured—and they are matte, not shiny. They are colored in earth tones and the pattern of their scales resembles diamonds.
Despite the intimidating rattle and fear of being bitten, rattlesnakes are not aggressive and tend to avoid people. When they do bite, it’s often because they were surprised.
However, you won’t always get a warning from snakes with a rattle. They may remain silent before striking and that strike might also be a “dry bite,” or one that is not envenomed to conserve the snake’s energy. Regardless, all bites should be taken seriously.
Also, snakes adjust their behavior to offset the effects of consistently hot or cold temperatures.
After a cold night, they will sun themselves midmorning to raise their body temperature. But to prevent overheating during the spring and summer months, they also tend to be more active at dawn, dusk and night.
- Stay vigilant.
- Stay on hiking trails where you’ll have a better chance of seeing and avoiding a snake.
- If you see one, don’t panic. They will retreat if given enough space and if you do not provoke or approach them.
- Keep your pet on a leash. They are at an increased risk of being bitten by snakes because they sniff the ground when investigating new areas.
- Wear sturdy shoes and long pants.
- Make sure grandchildren also have proper footwear in the wild and watch over them on hikes.
- Do not hike alone.
- Stick to well-used trails.
- Watch your step at doorsteps; snakes like to slither along the edges of buildings.
- Do not approach or mess with a dead snake, as it can still inject venom.
If bitten by a rattlesnake:
- Stay calm.
- Act quickly.
- Remove anything that may constrict potential swelling in the affected area like watches, bracelets and shoes.
- Get to the hospital as quickly as possible or call 911.
- Don’t attempt to suck out the venom.
- Don’t apply a tourniquet.
- Don’t pack the bite area in ice.
- Don’t cut in or around the wound.
How to handle a bitten pet:
- Leave the snake alone.
- Move your pet away from the snake as quickly as possible, being careful not to threaten the reptile.
- Call an emergency veterinarian immediately.
- Keep your pet in a comfortable position while you await further instructions, ideally keeping the bite lower than the heart.
- Get your pet to the vet right away.
- Speak to your vet about canine rattlesnake vaccines.
Coyote sightings in the Village are common, as we are located adjacent to their natural habitat and they have little to no fear of humans. Know how to handle an encounter. During the first few months after birth of pups, female coyotes tend to be more protective of their young.
While not normally a danger to us, coyotes will display defensive behaviors if threatened or cornered, which is why it’s important to leave a comfortable distance between you and a coyote. If you do encounter one that behaves aggressively, you probably are too close to its prey or family and need to increase the “comfort zone” between you and the animal.
According to OC Community Resources, OC Animal Care and other animal and wildlife government agencies, eradication and/or relocation of urban coyotes is ineffective. However, by practicing defensive measures, you can minimize the nuisance and prevent small pet losses caused by coyotes.
Information and Resources
The Laguna Beach Police Department’s Animal Services Division responds to wildlife situations in the Village. To report encounters, call 949-497-0701 or email email@example.com.
Please Don’t Feed Village Wildlife
Feeding wildlife is illegal in California. Here in the Village, both mutuals also prohibit feeding or attracting animals. In Third, Resolution 03-16-117, Care & Maintenance of Patios, Balconies, Breezeways & Walkways states “… Items that constitute a nuisance to one’s neighbors should not be placed in common areas or limited common areas. Examples are … food or water, which will attract birds, insects, or other animals …”
In United, Resolution 01-03-134, Care & Maintenance of Patios, Balconies, Breezeways & Walkways states, “Items that constitute a nuisance to one’s neighbors should not be placed in common areas or limited common areas. Examples are, but not limited to, intrusive wind chimes, reflective objects, food or water that could attract birds, insects, rodents or other animals.”
If you see neighbors feeding wildlife, please call Security at 949-580-1400. Complaints may be anonymous.
Take the following steps to protect yourself, your pets and your property from wildlife:
- Don’t ever feed coyotes or any wild animal
- Eliminate potential food and water sources, such as fallen fruit and standing water
- Feed pets indoors
- Keep cats and small dogs indoors or supervise closely when outdoors
- Store trash in covered heavy-duty containers
- Keep yard areas and patios free from potential shelter, such as thick brush and/or weeds
When bees swarm in hopes of creating a home in an unwanted space in the Village (a manor, a tree or shrub near a manor, balcony, etc.), residents can report bee swarms to Resident Services by calling 949-597-4600 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Staff will notify a specialist to remove the hive. In some cases, the hive can be relocated to a safe location, where the bees will pollinate plants and trees without bothering people.
For more Village news, click on the tag “What’s Up in the Village” below.