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Wildlife Proofing - Coyotes


Coyote Facts

  • Breed from late January – March. 

  • Produce a litter of anywhere from 1 to 12 young and have a 60-63 day gestation period. 

  • Leave their den to begin to explore around 3-4 wks of age and generally stay with their parents until fall. 

  • Adults weigh between 35-60 lbs and will live in the wild anywhere from 6-8 yrs. 

  • They are neither nocturnal nor diurnal, so it’s not uncommon to see them day or night.

  • They do not hibernate and it is not uncommon to see them during winter months. 

  • Being intelligent animals, they have adapted readily to life in the city.

  • As with any other wild animal, they can be problematic for property owners and citizens in Ontario.

  • Eat small mammals and rodents such as mice, rabbits, shrews, and small foxes and do play an important role in natural rodent control.

  • No known enemies other than humans. 

  • Prefer a habitat of mixed farm areas, swampland,  parks and park-like valleys. Live in secluded locations along stream banks, ravines or sandy ridges often use old den sites of foxes and groundhogs.

  • Intelligent and adaptable.  Because of this, they can be conditioned to artificial feeding methods, e.g. those who leave food outside for ‘wildlife’ are unintentionally teaching coyotes and other wildlife, where to go for free food.

  • Non-confrontational by nature and very curious. They are by and large, shy animals who avoid conflict.

  • Very smart and adaptable to their surroundings.

  • Not considered high risk for rabies, however any mammal is susceptible to rabies.

  • Range in fur colour from brown, blonde to red.

  • A ‘pack’ is generally a group of siblings.  A single male and female form the basic social unit.

  • Capable of running for long periods of time and can cover a range of 10-15 km easily.

  • Has a keen sense of small, hearing and sight.

  • These animals can live very close to humans and never be seen.

Abnormal Behaviour

  • Acts confused or disoriented

  • Attempts to fight with or attack non living objects or pets

  • Physically limping or appearing to be paralyzed or dragging rear legs.

  • Will come out of a protected and safe park or ravine area into a home or building, or to a barn where livestock are housed.

  • Some areas will see a coyote with large areas of missing fur and heavily crusted areas on the legs that may be cracked and bleeding.   This condition is called mange and it is contagious among other coyotes. It is caused by a mange mite and is virtually impossible to treat in wild populations.

  • If you are concerned with an adult coyote who has mange and is looking after a litter, call an authorized wildlife custodian or a wildlife centre with experience in handling these issues for advice. 

  • Never approach a sick coyote on your own.

Keeping Safe Around Coyotes


If you live in an area that has a coyote population, these items can help you stay safe:

  • Personal alarm or whistle – deters the animal and can get help for you if necessary. 

  • Carrying a cell phone for emergencies is also helpful.

  • Carry a flashlight and an umbrella, both are known to deter coyotes from approaching you (open and close the umbrella and shine the light at them)

  • Avoid letting your pet off leash to roam freely while you walk.  Keep your pet leashed.

  • Avoid walking during heightened coyote activity times, dusk and dawn. 

  • If you are approached, stretch out your arms and legs to make yourself appear large and make noise.  Stay calm.

  • Never run.

Coyote Proofing

  • Keep your trash in secure containers and don’t forget those bird feeders are also going to attract other wildlife, which in turn may attract coyotes.

  • Cats belong indoors.

  • Don’t leave small pets, cats or children unattended in yards where there is known coyote activity.

  • Once again, trash is the biggest attractant.  Never feed them deliberately. 

    Restrict their access to food and shelter that is not natural for them. 

  • Don’t condition them to live in close proximity to you. Enjoy them, from a distance

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Last modified: 09/23/16 08:17 PM