Urban Coyote Safety Information
EMERGENCY SITUATIONS - Call Brantford Police Services
If a coyote poses an immediate threat or danger to public safety, call 911.
Animal Control By-law Enforcement Service Provider
Brant County SPCA
Ministry of Natural Resources
Guelph District and Area Office
MNR website: www.mnr.gov.on.ca
Coyotes and Our Community
The coyote is part of the natural environment of both rural and urban settings near ravines and wooded areas. While some residents welcome coyotes as part of the area wildlife, others are concerned for the safety of their pets, children and families. In many cases, the concern stems merely from sightings of the animal.
Coyotes have been known to cause problems in rural areas as they are predators to various types of livestock. In the urban environment, they can cause damage to garden crops, raid garbage containers and there is the possibility of them preying on domestic pets.
Public Safety Tips
Coyote sightings in urban settings are become more common throughout the Province, including Brantford. It is important to note that attacks on people are extremely rare, however, there are some basic tips to follow to help reduce the possibility. If you are walking in an area known to have coyote activity keep these suggestions in mind:
- Use the buddy system, walk in small groups.
- Carry a personal audible alarm and flashlight or umbrella which can be opened to scare them off.
- If approached by a coyote DO NOT turn your back on or run from a coyote. Back away while REMAINING CALM.
- Make loud noises to frighten coyotes away.
A common concern expressed is whether coyotes carry the rabies virus. Rabies is rare in coyotes in Ontario. Coyotes are not the main carriers of the disease among wild animals. They may actually help reduce the incidence of rabies in Ontario since they often prey on foxes, a species more likely to carry the disease. It is even more likely for a human to be exposed to rabies through dogs or cats than coyotes.
Preventing Coyote Problems
- Fence your property or yard. Fences should be a minimum of 5 ft. in height with no openings where coyotes can crawl through or underneath. This is not a guaranteed solution but can serve as a good deterrent.
- Skirt or close in decks to eliminate access points.
- Proper storage and maintenance of garbage containers will help prevent raccoons, skunks, cats, dogs and coyotes from becoming a nuisance. It will also discourage the presence of small rodents, which are an important food source for coyotes.
- Do not leave pet food outside to help prevent coyotes and other wildlife animals from being attracted to your property.
- Avoid composting meat products because the smell of meat composting can attract them to your property/area as a food source.
- Dogs should be leashed at all times when off property. While this is a requirement under the Animal Control By-law, it is even more important in areas where there have been coyote sightings.
- Supervise your pets - dogs and cats should not be left outside for any period of time unsupervised, especially at night.
- Bird feeders - while these are intended to attract birds, they also attract squirrels and rodents which may attract coyotes.
- Do not approach or feed coyotes. Coyotes can become habituated with regular contact or feeding by humans.
- Use motion-sensitive lights around your property. This will help discourage coyotes and other nocturnal animals.
- Make loud noises to frighten coyotes - use whistles, personal alarms or even banging pots and pans .
If your property is near a wooded area, ravine or new residential area where coyotes have been established, it is not unusual to see a coyote. However, if you see a coyote with any of the following behaviours you should contact Brantford Police by calling 911 or Brant County SPCA at 519-756-6620, depending on the urgency:
- Limping or staggering or with paralyzed hind legs.
- Acting confused.
- Injured or deceased.
- Exploring a home or building far from their natural habitat.
- Entering a barn or other building where large animals are housed.
General Information About Coyotes
Coyotes are normally wary of humans and avoid people whenever possible. Typically they pose no danger but people should be aware there are potential risks to small dogs, other pets and even humans if threatened.
It is normal for coyotes to be fearful of humans. Coyotes displaying no fear of humans or exhibiting aggressive behaviours have likely been habituated to people through direct feeding or indirect feeding, such as leaving attractants like pet food outside near homes. In these situations, the aggressive behaviour tends to be restricted to a single animal or family group, and not the general population.
- The eastern coyote, found throughout much of Ontario, is a hybrid between the smaller western coyote and the eastern wolf with an average weight between 30—40 lbs.
- Coyotes are generally shy, cautious and non-confrontational but can be curious and experimental.
- Coyotes vary in colour from blonde to reds to browns.
- Coyotes are very adaptable and can do well in any area that includes forest areas or other areas where the food source is plentiful.
- They inhabit farmlands and other natural valley lands, ravines and parks of urban areas.
- Coyotes do provide benefits to agricultural and urban areas by assisting in the control of small mammals such as mice, rats, rabbits, groundhogs and woodchucks.
- Coyotes tend to be most active at dusk, dawn and throughout the night.
- Sightings have been increasing over the past number of years.
Things to Remember
- Keep cats indoors at all times and keep dogs on short leashes or enclosed in your yard. Allowing pets to roam at-large increases their risk of injury by wild animals. The City of Brantford Animal Control By-law prohibits dogs running-at-large, this includes parks.
- Educate children to not approach or harass any wildlife or unfamiliar domestic pet. This will help reduce the risk of bites or exposure to wildlife-transmitted diseases.
- Do not leave your children unattended in areas that coyotes inhabit.
- In most instances coyotes don’t present a problem unless the animals start to link people with sources of food — garbage, pet food or someone feeding wildlife.
- Coyotes are a natural part of and contribute to a healthy eco-system.
To learn more about coyotes, including how to deal with coyote problems, call your local Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) district office. MNR staff can offer information about wildlife and dealing with nuisance problems. Click for more information about coyotes on the MNR website.
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