I have received several emails and calls from residents concerned about coyotes in Kanata North. While coyotes are remarkably adaptable and resourceful animals, they are predators. Aggression by coyotes towards humans is extremely rare; nevertheless, it is important to be vigilant and cautious. We should all work together to report coyotes when we see them, to ensure our community is safe, and the coyote population is closely monitored.
If a coyote approaches you
- Stand tall, wave your arms and shout at it
- Do not make direct eye contact, which can be perceived as a threat
- Pick up small children (or small pets) to make them appear less vulnerable
- Do not turn your back or run – just like dogs, coyotes may chase you if you run
- Back away slowly while continuing to shout and wave
Teach your children to react the same way, and to let you know immediately if they have seen a coyote (keep in mind that small children may not be able to tell the difference between a wild coyote and a neighbourhood dog).
Dealing with coyotes near your home
If you see coyotes near your home, make sure they have no reason to hang around:
- Conflicts between coyotes and humans often revolve around food. Never feed coyotes. This can cause coyotes to lose their natural fear of humans (a process known as “habituation”), increasing the chance of conflict
- Keep pets inside or closely supervised, take down any bird feeders, secure your trash and other attractants (e.g. barbeque)
- Let the coyotes know that they’re unwelcome by shouting and waving your arms at them, clanging pots or pans, and playing loud music
- Homemade rattles made out of empty pop cans and pebbles may also be effective when shaken or tossed towards (not directly at) the coyote
- Let your neighbours know what’s going on, so that they can take similar steps
- Carry a flashlight when walking at night and avoid wooded areas, especially when there have been coyote sightings
Coyotes and domestic animals
Coyotes are naturally aggressive towards dogs, which they typically consider either as prey or as competitors. Dogs that are smaller than coyotes are usually seen as prey and may be attacked at any time of year. Larger dogs are mostly at risk during the coyotes’ breeding season (January-April) due to increased territorialism in defence of mates and pups. Keep dogs on leash when walking them near parks or natural areas and supervise them closely when letting them out at night.
Who should I call when I see a coyote?
Aggressive behaviour by a coyote towards a human should be reported immediately to the Ottawa Police Service by calling 9-1-1.
If you have been bitten or scratched by a coyote, please call Ottawa Public Health, (or 3-1-1 after hours) to speak with a Public Health Inspector.
All other coyote sightings should be reported to 3-1-1, so the City can track the locations of the animals.
The city held a Wildlife Speaker Series about Living with Coyotes last year. A recording is available, which may be of interest to you.
For more information, visit the following links:
- Preventing and managing conflicts with coyotes, wolves and foxes (Ministry of Natural Resources)
- Living with Wildlife: Coyotes (Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)
- Coexisting with coyotes (Rideau Valley Wildlife Sanctuary)