A toddler was seriously injured when a coyote attacked and bit her at Huntington Beach in Southern California on Thursday night, police said. The child was at the beach with her mom near the water just north of the pier at the popular beach.

The Huntington Beach Police Department said it received a report about the incident at 9:45 p.m. and when officers arrived they found the injured child. She was transported to a local hospital “with serious but non-life-threatening injuries,” police said.

A witness told CBS News that the child’s face was covered in blood.

Surfline shared footage on YouTube of the the coyote attacking the child in which you can see the animal jumping up on the girl and bringing her to the ground. (Warning, sensitive content.)


Officers shot the coyote as well as a second animal, Lt. Toby Archer, a spokesperson for the department said. One of the animals died and the other got away with a bullet wound. 

“We’re fairly confident the one that was shot and died is not the one that bit the child,” Archer said. “We did shoot the one that bit the child but it scurried off and we didn’t get it into our custody. We tracked it to a wetlands area but we lost it there.”

Cpt. Patrick Foy with the California Fish & Wildlife law enforcement division said that coyote bites are unusual but not entirely out of the ordinary.

“We probably have 10 to 15 attacks a year where a coyote bites a human,” Foy said of the total bites in California every day. “We’ve been seeing more in recent years than in the past. When I started my career 25 years ago, it’s definitely more than that.” 

Michelle Lute, national carnivore conservation manager for the Project Coyote, said a coyote biting a human is “highly unusual.”

Lute couldn’t specifically comment on why the coyote in this instance attacked a child, but she said that coyotes can lose their natural fear of humans when people intentionally or unintentionally feed them, such as by leaving out pet food in backyards and not securing outdoor trash cans that may contain food scraps. She also said that efforts to trap coyotes can backfire, disrupting stable population dynamics and increasing human-coyote conflict.

“It’s important to remember that the vast majority of humans and coyotes peacefully coexist across the country,” she wrote in a message. 

Animal Care and Control and the California Department of Fish & Wildlife are looking for the second coyote. When the animal is located, it will be euthanized, police said.



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