Coyotes are intelligent, adaptive animals who have survived despite increasing urbanization and the resulting loss of habitat. This loss of habitat means that coyotes are among us, and here to stay. However, the overwhelming majority and intensity of interactions with coyotes are largely within our control, as most coyotes spotted in neighbourhoods are only there because they’ve been intentionally fed or grown accustomed to “human-provided” food sources including unsecured garbage, compost, and dog and cat food left outside.
The best way we can minimize interactions with coyotes is actually a two-pronged approach. First, eliminating food sources is critical. Second, educating the public about coyote food sources and how to respond to a coyote sighting is paramount. For excellent examples of these coexistence models, one need look no further than the Niagara Falls model implemented by Coyote Watch Canada or the Stanley Park Ecology Society model in Vancouver. When this two-pronged approach is taken, human-coyote interactions plummet.
So what can you do to minimize human-coyote interactions?
- Never ever feed coyotes (while this may seem like common sense, intentional feeding is extremely common)
- Keep pet food indoors (this attracts coyotes to your property and can cause them to develop territorial behaviours around the food source)
- Keep trash cans covered and compost secure
- Remove excess bird seed from your lawn (this attracts rodents, which in turn, attracts coyotes)
- In the summer, remove fallen tree fruit and don’t allow fruit to rot (this also attracts rodents)
- Keep cats indoors (from the coyote’s perspective, there is no difference between a cat and a groundhog)
- At nighttime, keep dogs attended and leashed, especially small dogs
When people apply these basic behaviours, they are maintaing the natural fear and aversion to humans that coyotes have.
Know someone who is feeding coyotes?
This is a serious situation, and is the reason that so many groups are pushing for a coyote feeding ban. Please encourage them to stop the feeding, recommend that they visit our site or download our coyote pamphlet. Your neighbour, while they may mean well, is playing a huge role in what could lead to potential human-coyote conflicts. Remember– coyotes are naturally shy animals, and will only override their natural fear of humans for a rewarding food source.
If a coyote approaches you:
- Stand still.
- Shout “Go Away!” while waving your arms high in the air.
- Slowly back away (don’t run). If you have a dog, do not let him/her chase the coyote.
Want your community to implement a coexistence model?
Take a look at our coyote coexistence project in the Beach community of Toronto, and familiarize yourself with the issues. Then reach out to your local councillors and ask them to implement a ban on feeding coyotes, as well as an education program. Get in touch with us or the folks at Coyote Watch Canada to take the next steps!
|FAQs about coyotes (PDF)||3.54 MB|