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Coyotes - FAQ

The following is a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) about coyotes and the answers to the FAQ about coyotes.

What does a coyote look like?

  • Small, dog-like, looks like a cross between a fox and a German Shepherd.
  • Coyote
  • Average weight - 9-14 kg.
  • Length - 0.75 m - 1 m.
  • Coats are generally brown; some with reddish tinges.
  • Has a bushy tail that is 30 - 40 cm long, with a distinctive black tip.
  • Yellow eyes that help them see well in low light.
  • Ears are large for their body size.
  • Have a distinctive, quick gait, and run with their tail down; can run at speeds up to 64 km/h for short distances.

I've seen coyotes moving through my yard a lot recently. Why?

Regular coyote presence in your backyard is likely a result of a nearby food source. The coyote may be finding a meal in your yard, your neighbour's, or at a house down the street from you. It is important to eliminate these sources of food. Ensure pet food is not stored or fed outside, garbage bins and compost piles are not accessible, and fruit fallen from trees is picked up. Even a poorly maintained bird feeder may attract wild animals.

Coyotes are very adaptable and though the majority of their diet consists of small rodents they enjoy apples, berries and other fruit, birds, eggs, fish and small crustaceans. These food sources also attract rodents which are the mainstay of urban coyote meals.

If a coyote is in your yard it is imperative that you make the animal aware it is not welcome there. Coyotes are frightened by aggressive gestures, loud noises and large forms. Coyotes have been scared off properties by waving hockey sticks or brooms at them, and clanging pots and pans in their direction. Coyotes should not be ignored on your property. They should be discouraged from being there.

How can I help to reduce or avoid problems with coyotes?

  • Don't approach or feed coyotes.
  • Secure open areas under porches, decks or steps.
  • Clean up your compost, garbage and other potential food sources.
  • Don't store food outside.
  • Clean up around bird feeders.
  • Clean up fallen fruit.
  • Keep pets on a leash, in your enclosed property, or inside your home, especially at night.

What should I do if a coyote approaches or acts aggressive?

  • Do NOT run or turn away
  • Try to scare the animal by shouting and waving your arms overhead.
  • Bang sticks or clang pots together towards the animal.
  • Maintain eye contact with the animal and back away slowly.

What else can I do to avoid a negative encounter?

  • Never leave small children unattended.
  • Never approach wildlife and teach your children not to either.
  • Carry a shrill whistle or portable alarm with you in areas frequented by coyotes.
  • Never feed coyotes or leave pet food (including bird seed) outdoors.
  • Clean up all loose garbage and put garbage in approved waste receptacles with the lids on.
  • Keep dogs on a leash – even in off-leash areas and especially in areas where coyotes are known to frequent. 
  • Coyotes can be attracted to an area by dog feces, so please clean up after your pets, even in natural environment parks.
  • Cat owners should keep their pets inside their homes.
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