Coyotes Spotted in Hamilton Conservation Areas
Hamilton Conservation Authority (HCA) advises the public that coyotes have been sighted recently in some conservation areas.
Coyotes are a natural part of a healthy ecosystem in agricultural and rural areas, but have been known to forage in urban residential areas as well. Habitat in Ontario includes marginal farmland, highly developed mixed farming areas, swamplands, parks and the edges of cities and towns. Coyotes will consume a variety of foods, including meat, carrion, fruits and vegetable matter. The majority of their diet consists of small rodents, rabbits, mice and voles. In some instances, they become opportunistic feeders and have been known to prey upon domestic cats and small dogs.
Coyotes across southern Ontario have taken up residence in numerous urban areas where corridors and linkages from larger natural areas have attracted them to smaller natural spaces in parks and woodlots where food and safe shelter is adequately abundant for them.
Please respect the coyotes’ home – keep all dogs on leashes, and leashed dogs should be kept closely tethered to eliminate any perceived threat that a dog may pose to a coyote. Although it is not within a coyote’s nature to confront humans, continuous threats and antagonism brought on by unleashed dogs can agitate a coyote and cause them to become aggressive with the dog to protect themselves and their territory.
Additionally, please do not feed or approach a coyote so that it does not become accustomed to human contact. This could cause the animal to lose its innate fear of humans, and make it more likely to approach other people and to frequent other lands where they are not necessarily welcomed.
Here are a few tips to follow from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry if you happen to come upon a coyote:
- Keep all pets on leashes.
- Do not approach or feed coyotes.
- Please do your part in not encouraging coyotes or other wildlife to associate people with food.
- Secure garbage and pet food.