As many long term Mississauga residents probably know by now, spotting a coyote or two wandering around various neighborhoods is not as rare as you would think. It is common to spot wild coyotes in areas like Lakefront Promenade or on the winding Mississauga Road neighborhoods. This was thrust into the spotlight when reports of various local pet deaths were reported in the news like this story from the Mississauga News about a coyote killing a dog in backyard.
With this extra exposure, a lot of misinformation was spread around about how to deal with coyotes and what to do if you do encounter one leading to people using unconventional methods to keep themselves and their pets safe. Although the prospect of coyotes roaming the streets of your neighborhoods may scare you, there are a few simple things you can do to keep yourself and your pets safe.
Do not approach the coyote
As obvious as it may sound, approaching a wild animal under any circumstances is a horrible idea. If startled, coyotes are capable of causing serious harm to you or your children/pets so the best cause of action is to steer clear. This also applies if you find an injured coyote or one that seems docile. You never know if the injuries that the animal has sustained may have caused it to become aggressive or if it has a condition called rabies that makes the wild creature extremely aggressive. In both these cases, you approaching the animal will cause you great harm. The best course of action is to observe the animal from a distance and keep a good distance between you and the coyote.
With this tip, we should also mention they you should refrain from feeding coyotes in any form. Feeding these creatures only encourages them to keep coming back because they assume that you will keep feeding them. This can also lead to them becoming aggressive if they don’t get fed. Feeding wild animals is actually against the law as seen in this document.
Do not run away from the coyote
Running away from the wild canine will activate its predator-prey instincts leading it to chase after you. This is probably one of the worst outcomes that can happen you when you spot a coyote so we highly suggest against it. The more appropriate action you can take is to slowly back away from the beast facing towards it and keeping your eyes on the animal at all times. This will make it so you can pay attention to the coyote and can react quickly if it starts running towards you while also gaining distance between you and the animal.
Make loud noises directed at the coyote
Coyotes are generally timid and shy creatures unless they have some external cause to become aggressive as we stated earlier. For this reason, if you decide to start making loud noises and in any way startle the creature, it is very likely going to cause the animal to retreat away from your vicinity. Some good methods of spooking these creatures are to clap really loudly, yell, or honk your car horn if you are near your vehicle. You can also wave your arms around over your head to try to scare away the wild beast.
If you find a wild coyote or any other wild animal roaming the streets it is always a good idea to let the authorities know the location of this beast so the professionals can come and handle the issue. Luckily, since coyotes are timid creatures, the risk of one flat out coming to attack a human is pretty low, but it is always a good idea to report such occurrences to the police. The police can then contact the appropriate pest control agency to safely transport the coyote to a more rural area. You should also take this course of action if you see an injured or sick coyote. Please never approach the wild animal under any circumstances even if you think it is hurt or sick.
How to be prepared for a coyote encounter
Since coyotes mainly hunt from dusk to dawn, it is unlikely that you will encounter one during the day. If, however, you are roaming around during the dark hours there are a few items that you can keep on yourself that will help you deter any coyotes. One item that you should always carry on you when you venture out in the dark is a flashlight. This may take the form of your mobile phone or a physical flashlight, it doesn’t really matter. On the topic of mobile phones, it is highly recommended to have your mobile phone on you during your adventure just in case you need to call emergency services. You should also carry an umbrella or cane on you to help you startle the coyote if it gets too close.
Although it is impossible to ensure that coyotes don’t end up near your residence, there are certain things that you can do to help mitigate the risk of them showing up uninvited. One of the most useful things you can add to the outside of your house is motion controlled floodlights. The simple activation of these light should be enough to startle and scare away the animal. You should also try to store all your garbage in-doors to prevent the beast from trying to forage for food in your yard. This tip has the added benefit of keeping away other scavengers like skunks and raccoons.
Although coyotes may seem like a nuisance to you and your pets, the experts have determined that they are integral to the local ecosystems that they come from. Their primary purpose is to control rabbit and rodent populations to ensure they don’t overpopulate.
One good thing about coyotes is that even when they do attack humans, fatalities resulting from these attacks are almost unheard of. There were only two fatal attacks ever recorded, one being on a helpless child in California and one on a woman who was jogging in the woods.
This, however, sadly doesn’t count for your beloved pets. Coyotes are well known for snatching people’s pets and murdering them. Some precautions you can take to keep your pets safe is to make sure you keep your pet on a short leash at all times, always keep your pet in a save enclosure and to train it to stay away from wild animals. Although this wont keep your pet 100% safe it will greatly reduce the chance that it will be attacked by the wild beast.
In conclusion, while coyote attacks may be far and few in between, you should still be prepared if and when you are put in the unfortunate situation.
The first and most important thing to remember while dealing with wild animals is to never approach them. You never know whether the animal is rabid or is aggressive in any other way. You should also never feed the coyote or any other animals either as this encourages them to keep returning for more food and is against the law.
The next thing to remember is to never turn your back and run away from the coyote. This will activate its predator-prey instincts and will entice the animal to chase you like it is hunting you. You should, however, wave your arms around and make loud noises to scare away the timid animal.
And finally, you should be prepared if you do encounter a coyote. You should always keep your cell phone on you so you can call emergency services and have a handy flashlight on you at all times. You can also use your phone to play loud noises on it to scare away any coyotes around you.
Thank you for taking the time to read our guide on how to deal with coyotes in Mississauga. Be sure to check out our other posts and let us know your feedback in the comments.