About Coyotes

  • Coyotes are found throughout Ottawa. We see them more often during the winter due to mating season, and the loss of vegetation
  • Diet – 60-80% rodents, small mammals, carrion; also eat fish, eggs, fruits, nuts, vegetation.
  • Keystone species – removing carrion from the ecosystem
  • Other Adults including older siblings help raise pups
  • They make for healthier populations; they control populations and support biodiversity.
  • 2 coyotes can sound like a chorus – it is an auditory illusion (Beau Geste Effect).
  • The eastern coyote is a wild North American canine hybrid with both coyote and wolf parentage. The hybridization likely first occurred in the Great Lakes region, as western coyotes moved east. It was first noticed during the early 1930s to the late 1940s, and likely originated in the aftermath of the extirpation of the gray wolf in southeastern Ontario, Labrador and Quebec, thus allowing coyotes to colonize the former wolf ranges, and mix with the remnant wolf populations.

Reduce Attractants and Be Aware

  • Direct or indirect feeding of wildlife, in addition to not being healthy for coyotes and other wildlife, increases their proximity tolerance to people, backyards and public spaces.
  • Wildlife proof your space – minimize attractants.
  • Accompany family pets outdoors.
  • Clean barbeques and outdoor cooking areas.
  • Learn about local wildlife.
  • Be aware of seasonal milestones.
  • Report wildlife feeding to the City.

Hazard vs risk

    • Lightning is a hazard – if struck, you will likely be killed. There are 500 injuries, 10 deaths a year from lightning in Canada.
    • The risk of injury or death from lightning is very low (500 injuries in a country of 35 million people). You can also take steps to eliminate that risk – don’t stand outside during a lightning storm.
    • Coyotes are medium-sized predators and can prey on animals.
    • There have been well-documented attacks on humans, however, the risk is very small.
    • A study across North America in 45 year time period found 367 attacks on humans with 3 fatalities.
    • Canadians are 1000 times more likely to be injured by lightning than by coyotes.


Aversion Conditioning (AC) or Humane Hazing

  • A human action that encourages a coyote or fox to retreat away from humans. This is a very effective non-lethal method that the entire community can deploy.  It involves assertive body gestures, strong voice commands, and the deployment of appropriate AC tools, as well as the removal of the attractant (food).
    • Use your voice – be loud and assertive
    • Waving your arms high above your head
    • Use natural products – sticks or rocks
      • NEVER throw objects at wildlife
      • Never turn your back and run from any animal (domestic or wild)
      • Seasonal options such as a water hose
      • Shaker can filled with coins
      • Umbrella – pop it for sound and visual deterrent
      • Large garbage bags filled with air can be “snapped” at the animal
      • Be aware of unique circumstances
      • Follow-through is paramount
      • Whistles and horns are good, but if coyote is spotted in area near recreational play fields or roads, it may not be as effective
    • Never use AC around a coyote family.
      • Coyotes view dogs as other predators – they are protecting their family
  • During pup-raising times canids may be more protective and defensive towards a dog
  • It’s important to respond to warning signs from coyotes – vocalizations, gestures, and proximity (barking, jumping up, bluff charging, arching back)
    • Pick up small dogs, leash your dog
    • Do not run, keep an eye on the coyote, use AC tools


  • If you call the city, the only time they will respond is if there is animal aggression. Otherwise, neither the City nor the Province will respond to routine calls.
  • Aggressive behaviour by a coyote towards a human should be reported immediately to the Ottawa Police Service by calling 9-1-1. An unsafe animal will be terminated.
  • If you have been bitten or scratched by a coyote, please call Ottawa Public Health, (or 3-1-1 after hours) to speak with a Public Health Inspector.
  • All other coyote sightings should be reported to 3-1-1, so the City can track the locations of the animals.


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