5 tips to help people and coyotes stay safe in Toronto
With Toronto’s gorgeous greenspaces and waterways, the city is inviting to both people and animals.
Coyotes and other wildlife can be found throughout Toronto — near the lake, in parks and even walking residential streets.
While coyote encounters are uncommon, and attacks even less common, there’s always a possibility that you or your pet could meet a coyote anywhere in the city.
Here are five tips to help everyone interact safely with Toronto’s coyote friends.
1. If you see a coyote on your property or near your home, encourage the coyote to keep moving by shouting and aggressively gesturing.
2. To deter coyotes from approaching your property: ensure that there are no food sources in your yard; avoid feeding pets outdoors; remove dense brush and weeds to minimize hiding spots; and properly store garbage, recycling and organics.
3. Never feed coyotes — feeding coyotes is both dangerous and prohibited by bylaw. If you see someone feeding a coyote, call 311. Also call 311 to report sightings of sick or injured coyotes, and coyotes seen approaching dogs or people, biting pets and exploring homes or buildings far from large parks and open areas.
4. If you encounter a coyote, don’t run. Avoid turning your back, maintain eye contact and slowly back away. Coyotes are naturally timid and flee when aggressively confronted. Encourage the coyote to leave by: making yourself appear as large and threatening as possible by standing tall and raising your arms; making as much noise as possible by stomping your feet, clapping your hands and yelling “go away coyote,” to also alert people nearby; and being threatening by throwing a ball, stick or small pebble at the coyote that won’t hurt but may scare off the animal. You can also try shining a flashlight at the coyote, opening and closing an umbrella, or using a noisemaker like a whistle.
5. Protect your pet by keeping dogs leashed and keeping cats indoors. If coyotes have been recently seen in your area, don’t leave pets unsupervised in your backyard. When walking your dog: walk during daylight, but not at dawn or dusk; walk in areas with high pedestrian traffic, such as busy streets or jogging and park trails, avoiding abandoned properties or densely forested areas; only let your dog off leash in enclosed areas and always keep your dog in sight. If you encounter a coyote while walking your dog, pick up the pet if possible or keep it on a short leash and try to move to a high-activity area.
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