Living in Harmony with Coyotes
Urban areas in the Credit River Watershed have pockets of nature that many animals call home. Our cities are full of wildlife. From small songbirds to large white-tailed deer and even coyotes. While we may think animals only live in the countryside, the ones who live in the city are resilient and a beautiful sight to see amid the urban backdrop.
Sometimes there are conflicts between people and animals. Hawks stalk bird feeders looking for an easy meal. Raccoons get into garbage. Deer eat precious garden plants. While these animals can be a nuisance, it’s coyotes that spark the most concern for residents.
Coyotes have long, tall, pointed ears. Their snouts are long and pointed with a small nose pad. They weigh between 15 and 50 lbs.
Coyotes feed on small mammals. They don’t know the difference between a wild animal and a pet. There have been local reports of coyotes attacking pets. Reports of coyote attacks on people are rare.
As communities continue to develop, we need to coexist with coyotes. They’re an important part of local urban ecosystems. They help control mouse, rat, beaver, rabbit and deer populations.
Coyotes are generally shy and prefer to be on their own. If you see a group together, it’s likely a mated pair with their young pups. Coyotes often mate for life.
It’s common to hear coyotes, but you may not always see them. Their nighttime barks, yips and howls are their way of announcing their territory and communicating with members of their family.
Problems may arise when a coyote becomes comfortable around people. This often happens if they have a reliable food source in a highly populated area. To prevent conflicts with coyotes, follow these important steps:
- Never feed coyotes, directly or indirectly, by leaving food out for other animals or pets.
- Keep the area around your bird feeder tidy. Use a tray to catch fallen debris or use a no mess mix.
- Keep your pet leashed on walks. At home, supervise your pets while outdoors, especially at dawn and dusk.
- Keep cats indoors, on a leash or in a catio.
If you see a coyote, chances are it will leave the area on its own. If you encounter a coyote acting aggressively, stay calm, stand tall and don’t turn your back on it. Make loud noises like shouting or clapping, move erratically or use a stick or another object to make yourself look bigger to scare the coyote away. Residents in the City of Mississauga can report coyote sightings on a new interactive map and see where others have been reported.
Report coyotes that look sick to your local animal control. Signs that a coyote is sick include active during daylight hours, patches of fur missing and extremely skinny.
Learn more about the plants and animals of the Credit.
By: CVC’s Melissa Creasey, Coordinator, Urban Landowner Outreach