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The Weather Network
Apr. 19, 2019 | Friday
Local News
Mating season causes frequent coyote sightings in NOTL
Coyote on the move (Submitted/PiroskaBacso)

It’s mating season and local coyotes are out in abundance.

Recently, more and more coyotes have been spotted around Niagara-on-the-Lake. While it’s not uncommon for residents to fear coyotes in their neighbourhood, Ken Reid, NOTL canine control officer, said it’s normal for them to be out during the day.

“It’s absolutely normal. They’re not nocturnal, that’s a myth,” Reid said. “They’re out whenever they feel like it. Most of the time during the day they’re just wandering, or hunting. There’s nothing unusual about them being around in the daytime.”

He added that, due to the continuation of construction in the region, coyotes are more likely to wander into urban spaces.

“They’ve been dispersed. In a lot of areas in Niagara-on-the-Lake, with the developments, they’ve been dispersed out of their long-term homes. So now they’re moving around trying to find new ones.”

In a coyote information package published by the Ministry of Natural Resources, coyotes are said to be opportunistic feeders.

“Coyotes are territorial animals, with their territory ranging from a few square kilometres where food is abundant to more than 100 square kilometres where food is very scarce.”

In winter, their diet consists mainly of rabbits, hares and deer. In a small number of cases, they lose their fear of people and prey on livestock and small animals.

The information package said coyotes are normally afraid of humans and won’t bother them unless conditioned.

“Coyotes displaying no fear of humans or exhibiting aggressive behaviours have likely been habituated to people through direct or indirect feeding.”

If residents come across coyotes, Reid said they need to make themselves appear bigger and stay where they are. Even though coyotes are more likely to be afraid of humans, precautions should still be made to stay safe.

“Basically, just stand as tall as you can. Don’t turn your back on them. Make a quick move toward them. They’ll usually run off. Make yourself as big as you can, make as much noise as you can. Don’t turn your back and don’t walk away.”

Coyote mating season ranges from January to March in Southern Ontario. Reid said they are often seen more frequently during this time because they are looking for a mate.

Coyote Watch Canada (CWC), a community based non-profit wildlife organization, ask residents to report coyote sightings through their online form at www.coyotewatchcanada.com

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