Burlington is bracing itself for more encounters with coyotes the animals begin their denning season.
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 they are being fed on purpose or by accident. The city advises residents of the top 5 things residents can do to help deter coyotes include:
1. Never feed coyotes
Feeding coyotes, on purpose or by accident, 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. Make sure your cats and dogs are not left alone outside, 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
Discouraging coyotes takes vigilance. Ongoing efforts by the entire community to haze coyotes can help to re-instill their fear of humans and stop 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:
• Stop. Don’t run.
• Pick up small children and pets.
• 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 near the coyote;
• Spray the coyote with water from a garden hose or a water gun filled with vinegar.
• Back away slowly.
Residents are encouraged to report coyote sightings, including aggressive, sick or injured coyotes online at www.burlington.ca/coyote. Call 9-1-1- if a coyote poses an immediate threat or danger to public safety.
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