As one of Alberta's native wildlife species, coyotes have a natural and beneficial role as scavengers who can also help manage rodents and small mammal populations within the city itself. They are primarily carnivorous, but may also eat fruits and vegetables.
Below are some interesting facts about coyotes:
- Coyotes typically mate in late January or early February. The gestation period is approximately 63 days with an average litter of six pups. The den is abandoned by June to July. Dens can be anywhere from level ground to hollow trees to drainage pipes. These dens typically have multiple entrances.
- Coyotes used to live mainly in open grassland areas until the widespread extermination of wolves opened up new habitats. They are crepuscular, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk.
- Coyotes are considered a species of Least Concern due to their large populations and widespread distribution.
- Coyotes carry a large range of diseases and parasites such as rabies, canine distemper, canine hepatitis, tularemia, mange, and tapeworms to name a few.
- Coyotes may perceive small dogs and cats as prey, and view larger dogs as threats or competition. Coyotes very rarely attack humans.
Why are Coyotes living in the City?
Coyotes have long existed alongside humans and have adapted to live within population centres because of the opportunities they present to foraging scavengers. As our city grows and expands into the traditional wild habitat, more coyotes are adapting to food sources in residential areas eating readily available backyard food sources such as garbage, fruit and pet food.