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City reminds residents to be aware of wildlife when enjoying our park areas

HAMILTON, ON – Residents are enjoying the final days of summer in our parks, forests and trails across the city. And like many communities, Hamilton shares its city with coyotes. The City’s Animal Services Division wants to remind residents that to stay safe, it’s best not to approach, feed or try to interact with coyotes.

In Hamilton, there have been 226 reported coyote sightings so far this year. While coyotes prefer a habitat of mixed farm areas, swampland, parks and park-like valleys, they have easily adapted to life in the city. This summer, coyote activity has been reported in some of our dog parks in the lower east area of our city.

“It’s important for residents to stay aware and familiarize themselves with some basic safety tips if they encounter a coyote,” said Ken Leendertse, Director of Licensing and By-law Services.

If you encounter a coyote:

  • If you are approached by a coyote, stretch out your arms and legs to make yourself appear larger and make loud noises
  • You can also deter a coyote from approaching by carrying a flashlight and flashing it in their eyes or carrying an umbrella and opening and closing the umbrella
  • Carry a whistle and blow it very loudly and continuously
  • Stay calm and never run; coyotes can run for long periods of time and can cover a range of 10 -15 km easily
  • Carry a cell phone to call for help if needed. If you are concerned for your safety or the safety of others, call 911
  • Don’t leave small children, cats or other pets unattended in areas where there is known coyote activity

Coyote Proofing your home:

  • Don’t condition coyotes to live near you by leaving out food for them or any wildlife or having unsecured garbage
  • Keep your trash in closed containers and don’t forget, those bird feeders are also going to attract other wildlife, which in turn may attract coyotes
  • Help restrict their access to food and shelter that is not natural for them
  • Keep your cat indoors

General facts about Coyotes:

  • In 2018 in Hamilton, there were 403 reported coyote sightings, in 2017 there were 162
  • They have a keen sense of smell, hearing and sight
  • They are intelligent and adaptable – which means leaving out food or unsecured garbage may draw them to this easy food source again and again. Being intelligent animals, they have adapted readily to life in the city
  • They are neither nocturnal nor diurnal, this means they move about during the day or night.
  • Coyotes eat small mammals and rodents such as mice, rabbits, shrews, and small foxes and do play an important role in natural rodent control
  • Coyotes breed from late January to early March, producing a litter of anywhere from 1 -12 young. Young coyotes leave their den to begin to explore around 3-4 weeks of age, during the spring and summer months and generally stay with their parents until the Fall.
  • While they are shy and non-confrontational animals by nature, they can also be very curious. They typically avoid conflict and are not considered to be a high risk for rabies.
  • Adults weigh between 35-60 lbs and will live in the wild anywhere from 6-8 years

Abnormal Coyote Behaviour:                    

  • Acts confused or disoriented
  • Attempts to fight with or attack non-living objects
  • Physically limping or appearing to be paralyzed or dragging rear legs
  • Emerges from a protected and safe park or ravine area into a home or building, or to a barn where livestock are housed
  • Coyotes may have large areas of missing fur and heavily crusted areas on the legs that may be cracked and bleeding. This condition is called mange and it is contagious among other coyotes. It is caused by a mange mite and is virtually impossible to treat in wild populations
  • Never approach a sick coyote on your own

See a sick or injured wild animal?

Please call Hamilton Animal Services at: 905-574-3433. Officers are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.