If you’ve seen coyotes wandering the streets of Toronto, you’re not alone. Many people have reported seeing coyotes in city parks, streets, and other areas. City officials have explained why: It’s coyote cuffing season.
“It’s coyote mating season which means they may be more active and visible as they search to find a potential mate. If you see a coyote, please keep a safe distance and make sure your dog is always on a leash,” the City of Toronto tweeted.
There are some other reasons that coyotes are more prominent in the city during the winter.
Due to the harsh seasonal conditions, many people are choosing to cozy up inside, meaning that coyotes perceive there to be less of a threat in neighbourhoods, as fewer people are around.
The city is also reminding people that coyotes have become an important part of Toronto’s ecosystem, controlling the rodent and rat populations. Officials say that coyotes thrive in city settings due to the availability of shelter and abundance of food.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU COME ACROSS A COYOTE
Experts say that most human interactions with coyotes are because of nearby food sources, or the presence of a dog.
“Coyotes can behave in a defensive manner around dogs, often interpreted as aggression. Coyotes are naturally timid, but they will defend their territory and their family group, including their pups,” reads the city website.
If you’re out walking your dog and come into contact with a coyote, city officials recommend taking the following steps:
- Do not feed coyotes, either deliberately or inadvertently. Ensure all food you may have with you (human snacks or dog treats) is packed away securely.
- Keep your dog close to you and on a leash, especially in areas where coyotes are known to live.
- Don’t walk your dog in ravine habitats, especially in the spring when coyotes have pups.
- Be aware of your surroundings and what your dog is doing.
- Don’t let your dog chase or play with a coyote.