Coexisting With Coyotes

COEXISTING WITH THE EASTERN COYOTE

Coyote sightings are not uncommon in Southern Ontario. Coyotes have been a vital part of our ecosystem for many years. By applying common sense, preventative techniques and by being aware of the diversity of wildlife that we share our community with, we can minimize human and wildlife encounters and conflict. When coyote sightings increase many times these sightings are due to humans intentionally or unintentionally providing a food source and also multiple sightings of the same coyote. Over flowing bird feeders, mishandling of compost, and fallen fruit attract a diverse range of prey species such as rodents, squirrels, chipmunks, insects which coyotes will utilize as food. Consider that the birds and small mammals that frequent bird feeder stations are potential prey food for other predator species such as owls, hawks, fox and domestic pets. New infrastructure such as roads, fences and urbanization impacts how wildlife moves throughout our communities. Urban boundary expansion creates a loss of habitat and green spaces for wildlife.

SEASONAL BEHAVIOUR THAT INFLUENCES AN INCREASE IN COYOTE SIGHTINGS

Winter during mating periods (Jan-Feb), Spring during den selection/pup rearing (Mar-June) and Fall during dispersal of pack members will also affect the number of sightings a resident observes a coyote. By promoting respect, compassion and safety education throughout our community about these intelligent, adaptable keystone species, we can safely coexist with coyotes. Coyote Vocalizations are a coyote’s specialized means of communicating danger, locating pack members, defending territory and survival skills for pups. Their series of high pitched yips, barks and howls can be heard more frequently during certain times of the year. A pair of coyotes often sounds like a chorus to the inexperienced listener

COYOTE FAMILY QUICK FACTS

  • Coyotes are capable of breeding within the first year.
  • Gestation for the female is 62-63 days.
  • In stable territories, the alpha pair may have litters of between two to ten pups with on average, the number of pups born is five.
  • Coyotes co-parent and share in the pup rearing duties. It is not uncommon for older siblings from previous litters, aunts or uncles to help with this task.
  • Pups need their parents to teach them all of the appropriate survival skills and nurture them as they grow to become “coyote intelligent”.
  • Pups and their parents and relatives join in chorus to vocalize teaching the young effective communication techniques and also builds family bonds.
  • Alpha coyote and fox parents are protective and caring and will not tolerate threats to their young such as a domestic dog off leash.
  • Spring is a busy time for all wildlife families.
  • As pups become more independent, both parents may venture off to hunt leaving the pups behind at the den area or at safe and secure rendezvous sites. Parents will bring food items and toys back for the pups. Please reconsider removing pups from wild spaces as you may very well be tearing a family apart.
  • Use common sense, respect wild neighbours and report any feeding of coyotes or fox to City By-Law.

Adhere to important By-Laws for the City of Niagara Falls including the Coyote Anti Feeding By-Law and the licensing and regulating of dogs that are in place.

HELPFUL COEXISTENCE TIPS

  • Never feed coyotes. Our best approach for safe and harmonious coexistence is not to habituate them. We need to keep them wild and wary of people. This is the best way to protect our pets and ourselves. The few documented cases of coyote-inflicted wounds on humans occurred as a result of humans feeding a coyote.
  • Keep pet food and water bowls indoors. Pet food will attract coyotes to your yard.
  • Keep trash cans covered.
  • Pick ripened fruit, and clean all rotted fallen fruit off the ground.
  • Do not allow a large amount of wild bird seed to remain on your lawn. Bird seed not only attracts birds, but rabbits, squirrels, and rodents, which are prey for coyotes.
  • Keep pets under strict control. Coyotes are most active between the hours of dusk and dawn. Therefore, leash all dogs and accompany them for walks. Keep pets indoors at night or enclosed in kennels.
  • Owls, hawks, eagles, fox, including coyotes can prey on smaller pets such as cats and dogs. Accompany your pets outdoors after dusk, especially in backyards (unfenced and fenced) and on a leash, minimizes such encounters.
  • Cats may become prey for coyotes. Pet owners should protect pets and not let them roam. Our pets are at risk of many environmental dangers when they are not under our control. Coyotes may prey on small domestic animals as food and to eliminate a threat to their territory or pups. Domestic dogs can be considered competition for food items at locations where humans are feeding coyotes.
  • Keep cats indoors. Letting cats roam can actually draw coyotes into the area.
  • Keep chickens, rabbits and other small animals in covered enclosures, constructed with heavy mesh wire. Coyotes, raccoons and weasels can break through chicken coop wire.
  • Neuter pets. Although a rare occurrence, coyotes may mate with domesticated dogs.
  • Do not approach coyotes. Avoid coyote dens, and do not interfere with pups, even if it appears the parents have abandoned them. Coyotes will do their best to avoid human contact, but may attack humans when provoked, sick or injured.
  • Teach children about wildlife and how to safely respond to a coyote (or dog) nearby.
  • Respect, compassion and education are common sense tools that nurture safe and healthy human and wildlife families.

WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT A COYOTE THAT FREQUENTLY VISITS MY BACKYARD?

*Report coyote sightings on the city website. *Check your property for wildlife attractants. *Report any known feeding of coyotes to the City of Niagara Falls. Share our informative and educational Coyote Coexistence Pamphlet with neighbours, family and friends! This helps in promoting facts not fear based misconceptions and myths about coyotes in our community.

Human indifference is not an appropriate response to a coyote getting comfortable around areas that people frequent. Never allow a coyote to linger or bed down near your home or business. Print and follow Coyote Watch Canada Wildlife Proofing Tips.
Applying simple low intensity hazing techniques will send a clear message to a coyote that they are not welcomed.

Yelling in a firm voice while outdoors “Go away coyote!”, banging pots, spraying a water hose (in warmer months), throwing objects towards not at the coyote, using a shake can, popping open an umbrella can be effective deterrents to safely move a coyote away.

Battery-operated flashlights, tape-recorded human noises, and ammonia soaked rags may deter coyotes from entering onto your property.

 

IF A COYOTE IS NEAR

  • Pick up small children and pets
  • Never run from or turn your back on a coyote/fox/domestic dog
  • Wave your arm(s) above your head, stomp feet, clap hands. Surprise gestures work best. Be assertive!
  • Be BIG and LOUD! Yell “Go away!” Never scream. A strong voice and assertive gestures send a clear message. Take action- *haze.
  • Slowly back away. Maintain eye contact and remember never run.

**Use hazing techniques such as shaking car keys, popping an umbrella, throwing an object in the direction of the coyote such as clumps of dirt, sticks or blow a whistle.

Be prepared and aware of your surroundings when enjoying the outdoors. Be a good visitor “leave no trace”. Carry out leftover food, garbage and dog feces.

See alpha dad “Gus” in action-  Eastern Coyote.