Report a coyote
Successful urban coyote management depends on sightings made by citizens like you. Sightings make it possible to gain a clearer picture of the coyote population across the island of Montréal, assess behavioural changes and take the necessary measures to ensure harmonious cohabitation.
Help us track coyote behavior by reporting a sighting via the coyote sighting form or by contacting Info-coyotes at 438 872-COYO (2696).
Coexisting with coyotes in Montréal
An intriguing animal that is increasingly present
|Photo credit: Denis Fournier
The coyote is one of the seven animals in the Canidae family living to Canada, together with the dog, red fox, arctic fox, grey fox, swift fox, and wolf.
Over time, the coyote has broadened its territory considerably across North America. Urban development and farmlands have created new habitats, while railway lines, hydro-electric transport corridors and autoroutes provide paths along which coyotes can travel more easily. The coyote is now found inside and near all urban zones in North America. In the Greater Montréal area, coyotes are present across periurban and rural areas, and residents are likely to observe them in nature parks, and even in some urban areas.
Specialists in coyote behaviour in urban environments state that the majority of animals avoid confrontation with humans and that it is unusual for coyotes not to fear humans. 1
The municipal administration is closely monitoring the situation
In February 2018, the municipal administration formed an advisory committee made up of various central departments and boroughs, the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM), and the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs (MFFP), which is legally responsible for wildlife management. Coordinated by the Service des grands parcs, du verdissement et du Mont-Royal (SGPVMR), the advisory committee has a mission to develop a management plan based on coexistence, drawing on scientific knowledge and best practices in North America.
This management plan under development features three principal areas of action:
- Communication and public relations
- Acquisition of knowledge
- Intervention where required
In terms of direct action, the municipal administration intervenes in rare cases where a coyote presents signs of disease or aggressive behaviour likely to constitute an immediate threat.
Incidents of coyotes attacking or biting people are seldom reported. Exceptional cases generally concern coyotes that were provoked or lost their instinctive fear of humans after being fed, either voluntarily or involuntarily, for example due to easy access to garbage.
The MFFP estimates that the presence of coyotes is essential to maintaining the ecological balance of natural ecosystems. At the top of the food chain, the coyote has an important ecosystem function to play. For example, it helps control goose populations, which can sometimes be a nuisance un urban environments.
To better understand the distribution of coyotes across Montréal and take effective action to deal with coyotes that present aggressive or risky behaviour, the municipal administration encourages citizens to report coyote sightings and incidents involving these animals by calling the info-coyotes hotline at 438-872-COYO (2696).
General tips for improved coexistence
- Never approach or feed a coyote.
- Teach your children not to approach coyotes under any circumstances.
- Do not feed domestic animals (ex. cats and dogs) outdoors and keep your garbage out of reach of wildlife.
- Pick up fruit (ex. apples, pears) fallen from fruit trees, as it constitutes an attractive food source for coyotes.
Safety of domestic animals
- Keep dogs on a leash in parks and only walk on marked trails, as required under municipal law.
- Keep cats indoors, particularly at night.
What to do if you encounter a coyote
- Stay calm.
- Give the animal the space it needs to move away.
If the coyote does not leave or reacts aggressively:
- Make yourself look bigger by raising your arms.
- Make noise or yell to scare the coyote.
- Throw objects in its direction without targeting it directly so as not to make it more aggressive.
- Back away slowly, maintaining visual contact with the animal. Do not turn your back on it. Do not run.
- Dial 911 in case of emergency.
Tips for dog owners
|Photo credit: Alexandre Campeau-Vallée
Coyotes bear a strong resemblance to domestic dogs and share certain behavioural similarities with their canine counterparts. Most interactions with coyotes in urban environments stem from the presence of a dog.
Large and medium-sized dogs are generally not threatened by coyotes. Smaller dogs run a greater risk of being attacked, as coyotes may perceive them as prey. That said, a coyote may, at times, view a large dog as a threat or a competitor. As a result, the coyote may behave aggressively to defend its territory or feign intimidation to incite the dog to move away.
A coyote may consider your dog as a potential reproductive partner, as well. For further information on the vaccination and sterilization of domestic animals, go to the section entitled Living in Montréal with your pet.
In addition to keeping your dog on a leash, never let your dog interact with a coyote. If you see a coyote approaching, keep your dog close or lift it into your arms and go to an area where there are more people. Avoid the use of an extendable or retractable leash and walk your dog during the day rather than at night. You may also change your routine in order to avoid “risky” areas for a certain period of time.
1 WHITE, L. A. and S. D. Gehrt. “Coyote Attacks on Humans in the United States and Canada”, Human Dimensions of Wildlife, 14(6), 2009, p. 419-432.