Encountering howling coyotes

By Mario Carr

Coyotes have been on the prowl and seen recently near Paletta Mansion. A few nights ago, I was also awakened to the sounds of howling coyotes and the horrifying cries of a dying animal.

The cries sounded like they were only yards from my bedroom window, which faces an urban forest along Appleby Creek.

Coyote sightings are up in our neighbourhood. My neighbour encountered one a few weeks ago, while walking her dog in the park behind Pineland School. If it wasn’t for her fast thinking to pick up a stick and scare off the animals who knows what could have happened to her dog, or worse her.

City officials and Halton Police are seeing a rise in coyotes in our area and are warning us to keep our distance. Besides being dangerous, coyotes carry diseases like rabies and parasites such as fleas, tapeworms, roundworms, flukes, lice, mange, ticks, etc.

What to do if you see a coyote

If you’re threatened by a coyote, here are some recommendations from the City of Burlington:

  • Never approach or touch a coyote

  • Do not turn your back on, or run from a coyote

  • Back away from the coyote while remaining calm

  • Stand tall, wave your hands and make lots of noise

  • Carry a flashlight at night to scare off coyotes

  • If a coyote poses an immediate threat or danger to public safety, call 911

Pet safety

Coyotes do not normally prey on pets. But if you’re concerned about the safety of your pets keep them indoors.

If you see a coyote with abnormal behaviour or signs of illness, you should call the Burlington Animal Shelter. These signs include:

  • Approaching dogs or people, or exploring a home or building far from a large park or open area

  • Limping, staggering or with paralyzed hind legs

  • Acting confused

  • Attacking non-living objects

  • Fighting or attacking pets

Coyote diet and habitat

Coyotes often inhabit old fox and ground hogs dens secluded along stream banks and ravines. Coyotes are opportunist feeders. Rodents make up 30 per cent of their diet and are an important part of natural rodent control.

Coyotes also eat birds, insects, eggs, snakes, turtles, frogs, fish, acorns, fruit, plants, carrion, road kill, groundhogs, and rabbits. They are not known to hunt larger animals.

For more information: http://cms.burlington.ca/Page6273.aspx#.U2K3CvldU2A

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