Denning season is the time of year when coyotes’ pups are born. Shortly before a coyote gives birth, between April and May, the coyote will begin digging a den which they will use to raise their pups.
While naturally wary of humans, coyotes will seek food and shelter in residential neighbourhoods when the opportunity arises. The Top 5 things residents can do to help deter coyotes include:
1. Never feed coyotes
Feeding coyotes, directly or indirectly, teaches them to depend on human handouts and can cause them to become too familiar with humans. This familiarization can lead to aggressive behaviour around people and dogs.
2. Never leave pets unattended
Coyotes may see pets as a threat to their territory and may attack, especially when there is a den site nearby. Always keep dogs on a short leash (less than six feet long) when walking outdoors and avoid retractable leashes. Make sure your cats and dogs are not unattended, especially at night, even in your fenced backyard.
3. Keep a tidy property
Residential neighbourhoods are an ideal coyote habitat with access to water, shelter and food sources like garbage, pet food, fruit tress and birdfeeders. Make sure your property is tidy and clear of garbage, food, brush, long grass and wood piles which are ideal den sites for coyotes or other wild animals that attract coyotes.
4. Inspect your property
Make sure spaces around and under decks, sheds and similar structures are closed off with wire screening that extends at least 20 centimetres under the ground.
5. Consistently haze coyotes
Deterring coyotes takes vigilance. Consistent efforts by the entire community to haze coyotes can help to re-instill their fear of humans and discourage unwelcome behaviour.
Use one or more of these hazing techniques every time you see a coyote to help move it out of a residential area:
• Yell loudly
• Wave your arms and make yourself look as big as possible
• Use air horns, whistles, bang pots
• Throw small rocks, large sticks, cans and/or rubber balls at the coyote
• Spray the coyote with water from a garden hose or a water gun filled with vinegar.
If a coyote approaches, residents are reminded to:
• Stop. Don’t run.
• Pick up small children and pets
• Stand as tall as you can
• Make noise, be as loud as you can, shout “go away”
• Wave your arms and stomp your feet
• Use hazing techniquesBack away slowly
• Report coyote sightings online at www.burlington.ca/coyote
• Call Burlington’s Animal Services at 905-335-3030 if you see an aggressive, sick or injured coyote
• Call 9-1-1- if a coyote poses an immediate threat or danger to public safety.
• Hand feeding and ground feeding wildlife on private or public property is prohibited by the city’s Lot Maintenance Bylaw (59-2018) and is subject to a $300 fine.
• To request an audit of your yard for coyote attractants by city Animal Control staff, please email email@example.com.