Edmonton’s river valley and ravine system is the largest urban park in North America. Coyotes and other wildlife enrich the river valley experience. Coyotes play a natural and beneficial role in the food chain by eating mice and other small rodents.
Coyotes are part of the dog family but have very long legs, oversized pointed ears and large bushy tails with black tips. An average adult coyote weighs 9 to 14 kilograms and is just over a metre long from nose tip to the tip of their tail. Coyotes have light grey or tan coats and slim pointed muzzles.
Why are Coyotes Living in the City?
Coyotes have long existed in the City of Edmonton, but most stay in green spaces in the river valley. As our city grows and expands into their habitat, more coyotes are adapting to food sources in residential areas eating readily available backyard food sources such as garbage, fruit and pet food.
Coyotes and Pets
Coyotes are territorial and could consider your dog a threat. Coyotes may try to draw a dog away and attack it to eliminate the threat. Keeping your dog on a leash at all times is the best way to ensure its safety.
The City of Edmonton's Animal Licensing and Control Bylaw requires owners to prevent their cats and dogs from roaming free and unsupervised off of their property. By permitting your pets to roam free outside of your property, you provide the opportunity for a potentially serious encounter between your pet and a coyote.
Are Coyotes Dangerous?
Coyotes have a natural fear of humans but may become defensive and attack if they are protecting their food or a den. In cases of coyote attacks on people, it usually involves a coyote that has been fed by humans. Experts agree that coyotes will steer clear of humans until they learn that people are a source of food. Our behaviour can encourage coyotes to challenge us.
To avoid conflict with coyotes, follow these simple steps:
- don't feed coyotes
- secure your garbage in a garbage can
- clean up fallen fruit and spilled bird seed
- keep pet food inside
- keep your dog on-leash in areas frequented by coyotes
- don't leave a small dog out in the yard unattended for long periods of time
- don't leave cats out roaming
When to Report a Coyote
It's only necessary to report a coyote if:
- the coyote has followed, chased or attacked someone or a pet
- the coyote is acting aggressively or defensively
- the coyote looks sick
When an incident with a coyote is reported, the City will investigate and determine if a problem exists. Depending on the circumstances, different courses of action will be taken. This could include public education, posting warning signs that a coyote has been seen in the area, or coyote removal.