Coyotes in Aurora
Coyote sightings have increased in York Region, and many of our clients at Golf Glen Veterinary Clinic have seen coyotes in Aurora and Newmarket. Coyotes migrated to Ontario from Western Canada and the USA within the last 100 years and they have adapted to city and country environments. They are important predators and help to control mice, rabbit and rat populations. There is genetic evidence that the Eastern Coyote is a variant of the Western Coyote and also has Eastern Red Wolf genes. Coyotes have been seen alone and in packs (family groups) and are considered to be a reservoir for heartworm.
Coyotes are usually wary of people and avoid human contact, but coyotes displaying no fear of humans have likely been exposed to people through food or garbage. At home, contact with Coyotes can be lessened by removing sources of food:
- Keep pet food indoors.
- Use secure garbage containers with locking lids and store in an enclosed structure.
- Put garbage out the morning of a scheduled pickup.
- Use closed composting bins rather than exposed piles.
- Pick ripe fruit from trees and remove fallen fruit from the ground.
- Protect vegetable gardens with fences.
- Never feed wildlife (coyotes, foxes, raccoons etc.).
- Coyotes can easily jump a 1.2 meter (4 foot) fence. If necessary install a two meter (approximately 6.5 foot) high fence.
Walking your dog on a leash is the easiest way to control your pet if you come across wildlife. If you encounter a Coyote never approach it or touch it. If it follows you do not turn your back on it or run away. Back away from the Coyote slowly, and if it approaches, make a lot of noise (shouting, whistles, air horn), try to make yourself larger (standing tall, wave a walking stick). Carry a flash light at night. If the Coyote is an immediate threat to public safety, call 911. Should the Coyote(s) attack, fight with sticks, stones, ‘bear spray’ (pepper spray), or whatever is available to use in your defense.
For information on wildlife contact the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources website.