Why We Need Coyotes

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

As we approach the colder weather ahead, there is a particular animal in Southern Ontario that tends to get more air time during winter months: Coyotes. Why is that? Coyotes are as much present during other months of the year but blend in incredibly well with their surroundings. During the winter, when they are travelling between 'green' spaces, the white backdrop of snow makes them a lot more visible. It's therefore not because there are more coyotes present during this time of year, but that snow actually makes us notice them more than usual. They also breed between February and March and are more active during that time. 

Coyote at sunset. Photo by Shayna Hartley. 

With an uptick in sightings often also comes something else: fear. News stories have historically framed coyotes negatively, and many people fear they present a huge danger to people and domestic pets alike. To learn more about coyotes, humans, and pets, please see our blog What You Need To Know about Coyotes in Ontario.  When we published that blog some lovely people in our community pointed out that we should also help educate people on how important coyotes are for our ecosystem, so here we are doing just that. 

The Importance of Coyotes in Ecosystems: 

  • Population Control: coyotes help regulate and keep under control the populations of rodents and other small mammals. This type of predator/prey dynamic is necessary to avoid overpopulation and depletion of resources 
  • Disease Control: by aiding in controlling rodent and small mammal populations, they also help to control the spread of diseases they are known to carry, which can include Lyme disease. 
  • Clean up Crew: because coyotes are opportunistic and can act as scavengers, they also act as a sort of 'clean up crew', helping to rid of decaying animals that may be present in our environments 
  • Seed Dispersal: because coyotes do eat certain fruits and seeds, they also become seed dispersers when they excrete them into different areas
Coyotes play such an important role that they are actually considered a keystone species, meaning they have a significant impact on the ecosystems in which they live. Often misunderstood and vilified, coyotes are not only a beautiful species - but a necessary one for our ecosystems to thrive. 

Please help us in spreading the word and changing the conversation surrounding coyotes. We need them! 



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