Coyotes are common in rural and urban areas of the Credit River watershed. They are originally a western species that spread east as forests were cleared for agriculture. They have adapted and thrived in the altered landscape of southern Ontario. Coyotes are highly intelligent and are generalists, meaning they can adapt to a wide variety of habitats and food sources.
The colour variations of coyotes range from blondes to reds and browns. Coyotes are the size of a medium sized dog, weighing 35-45 pounds, but their thick fur often makes them appear larger.
Coyote sightings occur most common at dawn and dusk, when they are active. Daytime coyote sightings may be more frequent during their winter breeding season (Jan.-Mar.) when they move around actively.
In urban areas, coyotes can live in close proximity to humans in ravines, forests, along streams and in railway and utility corridors. They tend to be less wary of humans since they have not been hunted. They may be attracted to human food sources.
Coyotes do not generally pose a threat to human safety and provide a very important pest control function, since small rodents make up most of their diet. Occasionally coyotes have conflicts with humans. Coyotes may prey on livestock and smaller pets such as cats and dogs. Coyotes may also be attracted to food sources including garbage, compost and even bird feeders which attract their prey (birds, squirrels and raccoons).
Precautions to avoid conflicts with coyotes
- Accompany pets outdoors after dusk and keep them on a leash.
- Bring livestock into barns at night and use livestock guardian animals.
- Never feed coyotes. Feeding coyotes lowers their natural fear of humans and increases their chance of having conflicts with humans.
- Keep garbage and compost in an inaccessible area.
- Never approach coyotes.
CVC’s conservation areas are natural areas. Coyotes can be present and encounters can potentially occur. When visiting our conservation areas with your pets, remember to keep them on a leash of six feet (1.8 m) or less at all times. Off-leash dogs are at risk of coyote or other wildlife attack. Be aware of your surroundings when enjoying the outdoors.
Coyotes are generally afraid of humans and will usually avoid contact. Coyotes showing abnormal or aggressive behaviour should be reported to your local Animal Services office. More information is available at:
- Mississauga Animal Services (general)
- Mississauga Animal Services (information on coyotes)
- Brampton Animal Services (general)
- Brampton Animal Services (information on coyotes)
- Caledon Animal Services (general)
- Orangeville branch of the Ontario SPCA
- Halton Hills: report any wild animal behaving oddly to Halton Hills Canine Control Services, (905) 877-6235
- Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (information on coyotes)
If you or your pet are bitten or if there is an immediate threat to public safety, seek immediate medical attention and contact your local emergency services.