What You Need to Know about Coyotes in Ontario

Wednesday, January 11, 2023
A topic of conversation that can be more prevalent during winter months is coyotes. Depending on who you're speaking to, it can have both negative and positive connotations. 

The number one question people have is, are coyotes dangerous? to people? to pets?

Coyotes are spotted more often in the winter, leading to these questions popping up. They are spotted more often due to a few factors, including the change in environment, they stand out more on white backgrounds. 

Coyote at sunset. Photo by Shayna Hartley. 

As you can see, they blend in extremely well to vegetation, but are more noticeable against snow (white) backdrops, which often leads to a climb in sightings. More sightings does not mean more coyotes. 

January through March also represents coyote mating season, throughout which they are more likely to be spotted. Overall, they are most active at and after dusk. They are seen most often in transit - moving from one tract of green space to the next. In urbanized areas where green spaces are further apart, it can cause an increase in sightings. 

Coyotes, in general, are naturally scared of humans. Their most likely reaction to seeing a human being is to hide and/or move in the other direction as quickly as possible. On average they only weigh anywhere between 20-40 pounds, and aren't nearly as large as many believe they are.  People harm coyotes far more than the other way around, as they are at risk of hit by cars and various other human introduced risks. 

To protect your pets from coyotes, exercise caution and only let them outdoors (especially at night) when you can monitor them, walk on a short leash and keep them close to you during walks, and carry something that can make a loud noise (i.e; whistle). Additionally, make sure to clean up fallen bird seed and store your seed securely, so that it's not seen as a food source, and therefore an attractant. 

The most important fact to remember is this - coyotes are simply trying to persist, to live, to mate, to raise young. They are not malicious, and they are generally uninterested in harming you or your pets. Because our neighbourhoods and cities directly overlap with (and segment) where they live, we can take steps to effectively coexist and keep people, pets, and wildlife safe. 

If we arm ourselves with knowledge and lead with care, peaceful coexistence is attainable. If you're able to observe a coyote from a safe distance - it's quite a special experience. 

We hope you choose to view coyotes for what they are, a beautiful North American mammal. 



No comments:

Post a Comment