Squirrels, Raccoons, and Opposums… Oh My! Urban Wildlife in Long Beach, CA

Squirrels, Raccoons, and Opossums… Oh My!

Whether you see a masked bandit scampering across a quiet neighborhood street, smell something offensive on the block, or hear something scurry through your backyard at night, I’m sure you’re aware that we share our city with a population of urban wildlife.

Just last night, my dog alerted me to the presence of something running across our roof (not that I was going outside to investigate at 2am). There are many wild animals that call Long Beach home, such as squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, skunks, opossums, and even coyotes.

Most of the time, we are not aware that they are there; so it’s easy to peacefully co-exist with our urban wildlife. While many people may not appreciate these misunderstood animals, most urban wildlife pose little to no threat, and will gladly stay out of our way if left undisturbed. In fact, State Law requires that healthy animals be left alone (CCR 251.1)

The City of Long Beach website has a section on Urban Wildlife that has many tips and links to the Humane Society and The Department of Fish and Game. There is also an online form to report coyote sightings, a list and map of coyote sightings, and information on what to do in case of wildlife encounter.

Keep Me Wild

In the interest of safety for all (people and animals included) the California Department of Fish and Game has a campaign, “Keep Me Wild” to help educate the public about the dangers of feeding wildlife and making them accustomed to human interaction. Humans feeding wildlife makes them dependent on us for food – or at least look to humans as a reliable food source.

Often, the food that urban wildlife finds is in the form of trash, pet food left outside, and sometimes our small pets.  Following some simple steps will help to prevent some problems with our wild neighbors:

  • Secure your trash and compost bins. Make sure not to leave anything enticing where a curious critter will find it.
  • Bring pet food indoors. Animals such as raccoons, skunks, opossums, and coyotes will happily eat pet food.
  • Keep small animals indoors and lock pet doors at night. Leaving pets outside increases the likelihood of your beloved pet having an encounter with a wild animal, even in the back yard. Remember –a coyote can easily jump over your fence.
  • Remove sources of water and pick up fallen fruit.

There’s Something in the Attic!

Even if we are careful, it is possible for wildlife to make their home within our home; whether in the attic, in a crawlspace, or a shed in the backyard. Fortunately, there are ways to handle the issue without resorting to lethal methods. Check out the raccoon retrieval method used in this video on the Humane Society website.

Raccoons have been known to enter attic spaces through open vents or sometimes removing roof tiles to have a warm dry place to give birth to their young. Sometimes they will even nest inside chimneys. Even though raccoons are notorious for being destructive to our homes, do not try to get rid of wild animals on your own– consult a professional that is experienced in humane wildlife retrieval such as Animal Capture Wildlife Control, www.animalcapturewildlifecontrol.com

If a coyote is in your yard, the Humane Society recommends using negative reinforcement or “coyote hazing” to make sure it goes away, such as yelling or spraying with the garden hose. Do not injure or trap the animal – this will only increase the likelihood of attack. Coyotes are naturally timid and will usually shy away from people and loud noises.

I hope this was helpful in informing you about some of the array of urban wildlife we have in Long Beach, and hopefully I eased your concerns about co-existing peacefully with these beautiful and misunderstood animals.


Coralyn Wahlberg

Keller Williams Pacific Estates



About coralynwahlberg

The Wahlberg Group are Real Estate specialists based in Long Beach and Orange County, California.

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