Coyotes are not your pets. Five things Burlington residents need to know

Published March 7, 2023 at 3:07 pm

As denning season begins and pups are born, the City of Burlington is advising residents to take some precautions to avoid encounters with coyotes.

At this time coyotes are more likely to venture closer to people and homes as they seek shelter to give birth and look for food to feed their young ones.

The City advises that to maintain the safety of yourself, your children, pets and for the sake of the coyote, don’t do anything that will attract them.

Here are five tips to avoid encounters:

1. Never feed coyotes

Feeding coyotes, on purpose or by accident, teaches them to depend on human handouts and can cause them to become too familiar with humans. This familiarization can lead to aggressive behaviour around people and dogs.

2. Never leave pets unattended

Coyotes may see pets as a threat to their territory and may attack, especially when there is a den site nearby. Always keep dogs on a short leash (less than six feet long) when walking outdoors. Make sure your cats and dogs are not left alone outside, even in your fenced backyard.

3. Keep a tidy property

Residential neighbourhoods are an ideal coyote habitat with access to water, shelter and food sources like garbage, pet food, fruit trees and birdfeeders. Make sure your property is tidy and clear of garbage, food, brush, long grass and wood piles which are ideal den sites for coyotes or other wild animals that attract coyotes.

4. Inspect your property

Make sure spaces around and under decks, sheds and similar structures are closed off with wire screening that extends at least 20 centimetres under the ground.

5. Consistently haze coyotes

Discouraging coyotes takes vigilance. Ongoing efforts by the entire community to haze coyotes can help to re-instill their fear of humans and stop unwelcome behaviour.

Use one or more of these hazing techniques every time you see a coyote to help move it out of a residential area:

  • Stop. Don’t run.
  • Pick up small children and pets.
  • Yell loudly;
  • Wave your arms and make yourself look as big as possible;
  • Use air horns, whistles, bang pots;
  • Throw small rocks, large sticks, cans and/or rubber balls near the coyote;
  • Spray the coyote with water from a garden hose or a water gun filled with vinegar.
  • Back away slowly.

“With spring around the corner, we’d like to remind residents about steps we can all take to help prevent potential coyote conflicts,” said Nick Anastasopoulos, Burlington’s Director of Building & Bylaw Research and past experiences have shown the most effective thing we can do to lower direct run-ins with coyotes is to remove coyote enticements such as food – this includes direct feeding, such as leaving food outdoors for coyotes, and indirect feeding, like leaving waste garbage out at the curb overnight or rotting fruit on the ground from fruit trees.”

Report coyote sightings, including aggressive, sick or injured coyotes online at Call 9-1-1- if a coyote poses an immediate threat or danger to public safety.

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