Coyotes

Coyotes in Niagara-on-the-Lake

The Town understands there has been concern about coyotes in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Public safety is of the utmost importance to the Town, and we take these concerns very seriously. Staff has taken several steps to investigate these concerns, including but not limited to reaching out to community partners such as: 

  • Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS),
  • Niagara Humane Society,
  • Municipal partners
  • Trapper, and
  • Coyote Watch Canada.

Emergency Situations - It is vital that anyone in an emergency situation with a coyote, such as a coyote cornering humans or showing signs of potential rabies, should call 9-1-1 immediately. Police are authorized to handle these situations and frequently engage the Humane Society when they attend the call.

Education - This webpage is part of an educational campaign, to help inform residents how to co-exist with coyotes and what to do in emergency situations, and to allow residents to report coyote sightings for the purposes of tracking potential increases in coyotes in any specific neighbourhood. The information on this page has been sourced from Coyote Watch Canada. Please read this page in its entirety and see the additional helpful resources at the bottom. Signage is also being posted at Town parks where potential coyote sightings have been reported. Every effort is being made to efficiently and effectively respond to these concerns.

Co-existing with Coyotes

Coyote sightings are not uncommon in the Niagara Region. They have been a vital part of our ecosystem for many years. By applying common sense, preventative techniques, and being aware of the diversity of wildlife that we share our living spaces with, we can minimize human and wildlife conflict. When coyote sightings increase, many times these sightings are due to humans intentionally or unintentionally providing a food source. An overflowing bird feeder, mishandling of compost, and fallen fruit attract a diverse range of prey species such as rodents, squirrels, chipmunks, insects, which coyotes will utilize as food. Consider that the birds and small mammals that frequent bird feeder stations are potential prey food for other predator species such as owls, hawks, fox, and domestic pets.

Report a coyote sighting

If you would like to report a coyote sighting, please complete the online Coyote Sighting Form.

Please note that data collected through this form is used to assist Staff in tracking the general location of potential coyote sightings and any potential uptick in coyote presence in the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Town Staff will engage the proper wildlife authorities if necessary.

This form is not monitored in real-time. If you are in an emergency situation, please call 911.

Coyote Sighting Form

What to do about a coyote that frequently visits your backyard

Check your property for wildlife attractants.

Human indifference is not an appropriate response to a coyote getting comfortable around areas that people frequent. Never allow a coyote to linger or bed down near your home or business. Print and follow the Wildlife Proofing Quick Tips pdf available below.

Applying simple low-intensity hazing techniques will send a clear message to a coyote that they are not welcomed.

  • Yelling in a firm voice while outdoors “Go away coyote!” banging pots, spraying a water hose (in warmer months), throwing objects towards but not at the coyote, using a shake can, popping open an umbrella can be effective deterrents to safely move a coyote away.
  • Battery-operated flashlights, tape-recorded human noises, and ammonia-soaked rags may deter coyotes from entering your property.

What to do in a coyote encounter

If a coyote is near:

  • Pick up small children and pets
  • Never run from or turn your back on a coyote/domestic dog
  • Wave your arms above your head
  • Be BIG and LOUD! Yell "Go away!"
  • Slowly back away
  • Use hazing techniques such as shaking car keys, popping an umbrella, throwing an object in the direction of the coyote
  • Always be prepared and aware of your surroundings when enjoying the outdoors. Be a good visitor and leave no trace. Carry out leftover food, garbage, and dog feces.

Seasonal behaviour that may elevate coyote sightings

Winter during mating periods (Jan-Feb), Spring during den selection/pup rearing (Mar-June), and Fall during the dispersal of pack members will also affect the number of sightings a resident observes a coyote. By promoting respect, compassion, and safety education throughout our community about these intelligent, adaptable keystone species, we can safely coexist with coyotes. Adhere to important By-Laws for the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, including the Animal Care and Control By-law, which prohibits feeding or attracting any animal or animals in such a manner or place as to cause material discomfort or annoyance to any neighbouring person or persons, and prohibits placing any food or water on any public or private property for the purpose of attracting or feeding animals.

  • Never feed coyotes. Our best defense is not to habituate them. We need to keep them wild and wary of people. This is the best way to protect our pets and ourselves. The few documented cases of coyote-inflicted wounds on humans occurred as a result of humans feeding a coyote.
  • Keep pet food and water bowls indoors. Pet food will attract coyotes to your yard.
  • Keep trash cans covered.
  • Pick ripened fruit, and clean all rotted fallen fruit off the ground.
  • Do not allow a large amount of wild bird seed to remain on your lawn. Birdseed not only attracts birds, but rabbits, squirrels, and rodents, which are prey for coyotes.
  • Keep pets under strict control. Coyotes are most active between the hours of dusk and dawn. Therefore, leash all dogs and accompany them for walks. Keep pets indoors at night or enclosed in kennels.
  • Owls, hawks, eagles, foxes, including coyotes, can prey on smaller pets such as cats and dogs. Accompany your pets outdoors after dusk, especially in backyards (unfenced and fenced) and on a leash, minimizes such encounters.
  • Cats may become prey for coyotes. Pet owners should protect pets and not let them roam. Our pets are at risk of many environmental dangers when they are not under our control. Coyotes may prey on small domestic animals as food and to eliminate a threat to their territory or pups. Domestic dogs can be considered competition for food items at locations where humans are feeding coyotes.
  • Keep cats indoors. Letting cats roam can actually draw coyotes into the area.
  • Keep chickens, rabbits and other small animals in covered enclosures, constructed with heavy mesh wire. Coyotes, raccoons, and weasels can break through chicken coop wire.
  • Neuter pets. Although a rare occurrence, coyotes may mate with domesticated dogs.
  • Do not approach coyotes. Avoid coyote dens, and do not interfere with pups, even if it appears the parents have abandoned them. Coyotes will do their best to avoid human contact but may attack humans when provoked, sick, or injured.
  • Teach children about wildlife and how to safely respond to coyotes (or dogs) nearby.
  • Respect, compassion, and education are common-sense tools that nurture safe and healthy human and wildlife families.

 

Helpful links