Coyotes are native to North America and can be found living in urban and rural areas.
While coyotes are very wary of humans and avoid people whenever possible, coyote sightings in Burlington are common.
Burlington's green spaces and forested areas provide an excellent habitat for coyotes. They can travel great distances along ravines, hydro corridors, and highways. Food sources like mice, rats, and garbage are readily available in urban areas, attracting coyotes to residential neighbourhoods.
As much as possible, the City of Burlington's approach to coyotes in the community is to leave them alone. Coyotes naturally fear humans and should remain wild animals. Coyotes play an important role in balancing the ecosystem in southern Ontario, helping to control the populations of rabbits, rats and mice.
There are things we can all do to ensure coyotes remain wild animals and avoid interaction with people. Often, conflicts can be prevented if we are willing to make small changes to how we think and act.
Research and past experiences have shown that one of the most significant things we can do to reduce direct interaction with coyotes is to remove coyote attractants such as food.
Feeding coyotes teaches them to depend on human handouts and can cause them to become too familiar with humans. This habutuization can sometimes lead to aggressive behaviour near people and dogs.
Coyote sightings are commonplace. If you see a coyote, keep your distance and the animal will most likely avoid you.
If you encounter an aggressive coyote:
Your feedback helps us to monitor the location of coyotes in the community. If you see a coyote, or observe a potential problem related to garbage or someone intentionally or accidentally feeding a coyote, you can assist the city by submitting an online report.
Alternatively, please call 905- 335-3030 to report a coyote sighting or feeding issue. Please be prepared to provide location details.
Living with Coyotes - City of Burlington
Coyote Watch Canada
Ministry of Natural Resources - Living with Wildlife
VIDEO: Walrus TV - The Urban Coyote
CBC Radio - Ontario Today, Who to Call About a Bear (June 2015)
The Eastern Coyote is an extremely intelligent, family oriented and highly adaptive species. Since the 17th century, the landscape of Ontario has vastly changed, pushing out the natural species - such as bears, wolves and cougars - creating a vacuum in the ecosystem. Coyotes are easily able to navigate urban landscapes and have filled the hole created in the ecosystem. There are plenty of natural food sources, such as rodents and rabbits, in urban settings.
Relocating or killing coyotes is not recommended, difficult to accomplish and only a Band-Aid solution. Removing a coyote opens up the landscape for another coyote or two to move in, filling nature's vacancy. Much like birds, squirrels, raccoons and other animals, coyotes have found a permanent home in urban areas.
The City of Burlington's approach to coyotes in the community is to leave them alone so that they remain wild animals.
The role of the City of Burlington's Animal Services is to assist and care for lost, sick and injured animals in the community. If you see a sick or injured coyote call Animal Services at 905-335-3030.
Coyotes are omnivores; they eat small rodents as well as local vegetation, such as berries and fruits. While coyotes may not distinguish between a cat and one of their preferred prey species, such as rabbits or rats, they do not hunt dogs. Most often, dogs are seen as potential competition for food or as a threat to coyotes, as they are from the dog family as well.
Feeding coyotes, even indirectly through bird feeders (which attract rodents) will encourage them to come back to a specific area to look for more food. Multiple studies from across North America show that feeding animals (intentionally or accidentally) creates a greater chance of conflict.
Bird seed left on the ground can attract rodents, which in turn can attract coyotes. Rodents make up at least 75 per cent of a coyote diet.
Coyotes are very wary of humans and avoid people whenever possible. Coyotes that do not show a natural fear for people may have become habituated through someone intentionally or inadvertently feeding them.
Halton Public Health reports that, with one exception in 2012, there has never been a reported incident of a coyote biting or scratching a person. The one reported incident resulted in a minor injury. However, every year there are over 900 incidents involving cats and dogs, many with serious consequences.
Eastern Coyotes share remnants of DNA with wolves. Scientists estimate that the initial cross-breeding of the species occurred approximately 100 years ago in north western Ontario. While today's Eastern Coyote often looks wolf-like, it remains significantly smaller (a large Eastern Coyote is approximately 40 pounds). The small amount of DNA they share with wolves does not affect their behaviour in terms of how humans can safely coexist with this highly adaptable, family oriented and intelligent native North American canid.