“Caught on cam: Coyote attacks girl in backyard.” “Women fights off coyote attack with shovel.” These headlines may look familiar. They may also make you worried about your safety, as well as the security of your children and pets. Living among coyotes is not a new phenomenon for people living in the GTA. Lately, however, it’s causing a lot of concern.
So, how can one deal with coyotes living in their area? “You can start with not feeding the wildlife,” said Jason Smith, manager of Mississauga Animal Services. “It’s like a cycle, if you leave seed out of the birds, the squirrels will eat it, too. The food also attracts small rodents like mice, rats and rabbits. The increase in rodent activity will then attract predators like coyotes to that area.”
Something as simple as stopping feeding wildlife can prevent encounters with coyotes. It’s not common for a coyote to interact with humans, but it can happen.
If you’re an advent bird feeder, you don’t necessarily have to stop completely.
“Adopt responsible bird feeding practices. Reserve bird feeders for winter months and ensure feeders are clean, tidy and seed mix attracts native songbirds. Bring feeders inside at night to discourage raccoons and discontinue feeding if you are attracting rodents or larger mammals like coyotes into the area,” the Mississauga Animal Service advises in ‘Don’t Feed The Wildlife‘.
A big worry for residents in the GTA is the safety of their pets. How to respond when you or your pets have a run-in with a coyote?
Smith says to do the following:
* Keep your dog on a 6” leash
* Don’t leave pets unsupervised
* When you see a coyote in a public area, do what you reasonably can to make them feel they aren’t welcome.
* If approached by one, try to look big, make loud noises, throw available objects at the coyote or anything you can do to scare them off.
Most importantly, if you spot a coyote or have a run in with one, report it to your town or city’s animal services so they can keep track.
It’s important to remember that we share the land with other animals, which includes coyotes. That said, it is important to stay aware, be careful and don’t feed the wildlife.