"Don't poke the bear" is advice worth heeding, but it seems one California canid missed the memo. The coyote got a bit too close to its ursine neighbours during a recent scavenger fest in Los Angeles County. Exactly what the brazen animal was after, though, is still up for debate. 

The footage was uploaded to YouTube by La Canada Flintridge local Chris McDonald, whose backyard security cameras caught the encounter last week. McDonald suspects the coyote was aiming for the cub, and that's certainly a possibility. 

"The mother kept it very close, so it seemed well protected," he told KDTV 6 News.

Coyotes have been known to attack bear cubs from time to time, and prior reports suggest that this mother thwarted a duo of the small predators earlier in the month. Given the setting of this encounter, however, it's more likely that the coyote was interested in a serving of whatever scraps the bear pair had discovered in McDonald's garbage. 

The footage provides a great visual example of why it's important to lock up your waste when you share your home with wild animals. Just last month, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFWissued a reminder to local residents about being "bear aware" during spring, a time when local black bears are particularly active after their long winter hibernations. 

"Over the years, we have seen bear behaviour patterns change significantly," says Marc Kenyon, manager of CDFW's human-wildlife conflict programme. "Each spring and summer we receive hundreds of calls from the public reporting anything from bears raiding food in campgrounds to bears taking dips in residential swimming pools."

Many of these "nuisance" encounters can be prevented through responsible action, like keeping food – and its alluring smells – under wraps. Whether that means keeping household bins under lock and key, or enlisting an army of robotic clown "trash guards" is entirely up to you!



Top header image: Kristi/Flickr