Wildlife in the City: Coyotes


  • Breed from late January to March: gestation is 60-63 days. Each year they produce one litter of one to 12 young.
  • Venture outside of their den at three to four weeks and begin to explore the world around them. Young stay with their parents until the fall. 
  • Have an average life span of six to eight years and weigh between 36-60 lbs. 
  • Are active during the day and at night. They do not hibernate, so you may see them in winter. 
  • Look for secluded locations along stream banks, ravines or sandy ridges to use as a den. 
  • Are very smart and adaptable to their surroundings. They are curious animals who are non-confrontational by nature. 
  • Have a blonde, red or brown coat . A pack of coyotes is usually made of a group of siblings. Male and female are the basic social unit.
  • A coyote can run for a long period of time and can cover a range of 10-15 km.


Problems and best solutions

Coyote sightings

Just after dawn or before dusk coyotes may be seen hunting in an open area or running along highways or near ravines.The coyote is very alert and has keen senses of smell, hearing and sight.

Coyotes can live close to humans and rarely be seen. Some people may be concerned about the safety of children and pets, and may be afraid that the coyote is sick or has rabies. If you are concerned about the safety of your pets, feed and keep them indoors.

Abnormal behaviour

If your house or apartment is near a ravine, you may see a coyote. 

Call 311 if you see a coyote that is:

  • approaching dogs or people 
  • exploring a home or building far from a large park or open area 
  • entering a barn area where large animals are confined 
  • limping or staggering or with paralyzed hind legs 
  • acting confused attacking non-living objects
  • fighting or attacking pets


Coyotes are intelligent, adaptable and curious creatures. As a rule they are also shy, cautious and non-confrontational. They are drawn to places where they can find "easy pickings". By using the preventative tips below you can learn how to discourage these animals from backyards and avoid the possibility of a negative interaction or conflict.

  • Never feed coyotes! Do not leave any type of food outdoors for any animal.
  • Make sure you keep your green bin in a secure area until collection day. 
  • Bird feeders attract birds, squirrels and rodents, which in turn may attract coyotes. 
  • Never compost meat products.
  • Do not house poultry or livestock in close proximity to your home.

Keeping your family and pets safe

Coyotes have adjusted well to living in close proximity to humans and are shy and prefer to avoid confrontations. Make sure you teach your children about animal safety and what to do if they should encounter various types of wildlife.

If you walk in a park with coyote activity, take note of the following safety tips:

  • Carry a personal audible alarm (it will deter a coyote and bring attention to yourself in case you needed help) 
  • Carry a bright flashlight (bright light has been known to deter coyotes) 
  • Keep your pet leashed
  • Keep an umbrella in close reach (the action of opening/closing will deter a coyote)
  • If you are approached by a coyote
    Make yourself appear larger and shout and/or clap your hands together
  • Stay calm, hold your ground
  • Never run

Attractions to food

Coyotes are omnivores and will eat whatever is available such as small mammals and birds, carrion, fruit and improperly stored garbage. The coyote's diet will also change depending on its surrounding environment.

Natural Diet Small rodents such as mice, groundhogs and rabbits. Also birds, eggs, snakes, turtles, frogs, fish, fruit, plants, carrion and road kill. They are not known to hunt deer but may try to hunt sheep or young calves if in desperate need.
Urban Diet Garbage that overflows from residential dumpsters or garbage that is carelessly stored outdoors. Garbage often attracts mice and rats, which in turn attracts coyotes and foxes into residential areas.
Outdoor Animals Cats (allowed outdoors)
Rabbits (confined in pens)
Livestock (poultry and other non-pets)

Many wild animals, including coyotes, have adapted well to life in the city. Because food and shelter are plentiful, and natural predators are limited, these animals will continue to live near us. If we learn to share the environment with wildlife and reduce problems by getting rid of sources of food and shelter on our properties, we can be entertained by these visitors as they make their way to a more suitable home.

Also see how to wildlife-proof your home.




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