Four things to know about coyotes this spring

The media across Canada is reporting on coyote sightings and conflicts – but it isn’t really news. Late spring is when young coyotes (and other wildlife) begin exploring and learning to live independently, a process that happens every year. For those who are just learning about coyotes as spring rolls into summer, here are four things you should know:

  1. Coyotes mate for life. Unlike many other mammals, coyotes stay with their mate until death, and both parents play a significant role in rearing pups. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to let the families stay together, rather than using lethal options to manage them.
  2. Coyotes are playful – and sometimes they’ll steal toys. Viral videos and photos of coyotes playing with dog toys are just a few of the examples of how playful these canids can be. It isn’t unusual to find an abandoned den site filled with golf or tennis balls, squeaky toys, and other toys they found on their adventures.
  3. They really ARE more scared of you. Even if coyotes sometimes seem dramatic in how they pause and watch us, they really are scared of us and want to avoid people. They are, however, quite curious and will cautiously watch all of the things going on around them, which is why they sometimes seem to be peering at us. The only time a coyote would go up to a person is if they’ve been taught that people represent a food source. And that’s why…
  4. Feeding coyotes is what causes most conflict. Coyotes aren’t out to get us or our pets. In fact, most studies that looked at coyote scat found less than 2 per cent of their diet comes from domestic animals like cats or dogs. But they are smart animals, and if even one person in a neighbourhood is offering them food directly or indirectly (by providing access to pet food, leaving out garbage, etc.), they may approach other people in hopes that they’ll offer food, too.

Coyote families want what we want – a safe, healthy life for their families. And all around us, coyotes are learning to live with us. Isn’t it fair that we learn to live with them?

Please support our Living With Wildlife: Coyotes campaign by making a donation today. These funds go to provide educational materials that can be distributed to communities experiencing conflict, hosting webinars and workshops on coyote conflict, and providing in-field solutions.

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