What should you do if you encounter a coyote?

by Dennis Kim

Photo Credit: Ross Sokolovski

Coyotes can be found in rural and urban areas across North America. In general, they don’t pose a threat to people, but they can hurt your pets (including cats, rabbits and small dogs). They’re active during both the day and night and help control the rodent and rabbit populations.

So, why do coyotes come into urban and city areas if they prey on small animals? As cities became bigger and more populated, the more food, garbage and shelter became available. Since coyotes don’t hibernate, they’re present year-round. This means being coyote-conscious is key.

In this blog, we’ll discuss what you should do if you come across a coyote.

How to avoid coyotes

There are a few rule of thumbs to consider when you’re trying to avoid coyotes:

- Never feed coyotes

- Don’t approach coyotes, their dens or their young

- Don’t touch them, even if they seem friendly or tame

- Keep your pets on a leash

- If you see a coyote, don’t run or make sudden movements. Make some noise and walk away

- Throw away all your garbage before leaving public parks

What to do when you see a coyote

Coyotes are mostly seen and heard during their mating season, which occurs between January and March. Even though they’re generally fearful of people, you’ll still catch them crossing the street or hanging around neighbourhoods. If coyotes don’t flee it’s because they’ve become accustomed to seeing people. This often happens if they’ve been fed handouts or found unsecured garbage.

If you see a coyote who’s used to humans, you can try the “hazing” technique. Hazing entails different actions you can take to scare them away including:

- Be as big and loud as possible

- Don’t turn your back to coyotes

- Wave your arms, clap your hands and shout

- Bang on pots and pans if they’re on your lawn

- Throw small stones and sticks (not at them but in their vicinity)

- Use a spray bottle

- Shake or throw a “Coyote Shaker” (a soda can filled with coins or pebbles)

The effects of hazing might not be permanent, especially if a coyote is used to receiving food. Coyote attacks are very rare, but they’re preventable by modifying human interactions and behaviour.

If you come into contact with a coyote and you’ve been attacked or bitten, go to the emergency room immediately. They can carry rabies and it’s important to get treated right away. To help with prevention, keep a first aid kit in your home and wrap up any wounds to stop any bleeding. At Pacific First Aid, we offer tons of first aid supplies so you can customize your own kit.

Source: https://www.ontario.ca/page/preventing-and-managing-conflicts-coyotes#encounter