Take an e-learning course on Coyotes in the Urban Landscape
to learn basic facts about coyote behaviour and how both animals and people can remain safe. This informational module has been created in partnership with Coyote Watch Canada.
Coyotes generally do not pose a danger to people, but can pose a danger for pets. They are active during the day and at night, particularly dusk and dawn, and help to control rodent and rabbit populations. Coyotes thrive in urban areas because of the abundance of food and shelter available. They do not hibernate and may be seen more often during winter months as they are not hidden by foliage. Coyotes will eat whatever food is available such as small mammals and birds, and improperly stored garbage.
Remember these tips:
- Never feed coyotes
- Do not approach coyotes, their dens or their young
- Do not touch coyotes, even if they appear tame, sick or injured
- Keep your dog on a leash
- If you see a coyote, do not run but make some noise to scare it away
- Dispose of garbage and waste before leaving parks
If you see someone feeding a coyote, call 311 as it is against City bylaw (Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 608, Parks Section 36). To report a coyote sighting, call 416-338-PAWS (7297), or email firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out an online form.
How to Deter Coyotes
What should I do if I see a coyote near my home or on my property?
- Encourage the coyote to keep moving by shouting and gesturing aggressively.
- There is probably a food source either in your yard or your neighbour’s yard.
To stop a coyote from coming into your yard:
- Avoid feeding your pets outdoors.
- Store garbage, recycling and organics properly.
- Remove dense brush and weeds to minimize hiding spots.
If you see someone feeding a coyote, call 311 as it is against City bylaws.
Coyotes are naturally timid and flee when confronted aggressively. Never run away from a coyote. Avoid turning your back, maintain eye contact and slowly back away.
The following actions teach coyotes to fear humans.
- Be Big: Make yourself appear as large, imposing or as threatening as you can. For example, stand up if possible, raise your arms in the air, wave your jacket.
- Be Loud: Making loud sounds or noises can help to scare a coyote away. For example, blow a whistle or air horn, stomp your feet, clap your hands, snap open a large plastic or garbage bag, yell “go away coyote” to alert people nearby.
- Be Threatening: Display aggressive behaviour to scare the coyote away. For example, swing your walking stick or cane, shine a flashlight on the coyote, throw a tennis ball or a small pebble or stick in the direction of the coyote, to scare it away.
Download a printable factsheet on coyotes in your park and neighbourhood.
If you see a coyote doing the following, call 311:
- Approaching dogs or people
- Exploring a home or building far from a large park or open area
- Limping or staggering or with paralyzed hind legs
- Acting confused around non-living objects
- Biting pets
- If you find an injured or sick coyote
Keeping Your Pets Safe
- Keep dogs on a leash.
- Keep cats indoors or supervised when outside.
- If coyotes are in your area, do not let your pet out into your backyard alone.
When walking your dog in a park:
- Allow your dog off leash only in enclosed areas.
- Walk your dog in areas of high pedestrian traffic such as busy streets, jogging and park trails.
- Walk during daylight hours.
- Avoid walking along abandoned properties or densely forested areas.
- Keep your dog in sight.
If you encounter a coyote while walking your dog:
- Pick the dog up in your arms.
- If not possible, keep your dog on a short leash and move to an area with more activity.
The following may help to deter coyotes:
Flashlights: Bright light has been known to deter coyotes.
Umbrellas: The action and sound of opening/closing will deter a coyote.
Whistles: May not scare coyote directly but will alert other pedestrians in the area.
Be big and loud: Jump up and down, wave your arms, yell “Go away coyote!”
The City's Coyote Response Strategy
The City provides the following:
- public education
- a bylaw that prohibits feeding of wildlife
- criteria for the removal of coyotes, if necessary:
- A bite to another animal is not grounds for removal – it is normal coyote behaviour.
- If a coyote is injured or sick, Toronto Animal Services will investigate to determine whether the coyote can recover on its own or should be taken to a wildlife rehabilitation facility.
- In accordance with the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, once it recovers, the coyote will be returned to the area from where it was captured.