It seems coyotes are being spotted a little too close to home in the west end of Guelph, according to some residents.
Ryan Paxton, captured video footage of a coyote running through his residential neighbourhood on a camera stationed at the front of his West Acres Drive house.
“I’ve been here for 15 years now. I see coyotes often when driving down Paisley west of Elmira Road, but I’ve never seen them come into the residential areas,” Paxton said.
The footage caught the coyote on camera two nights in a row, on June 24 around 9:30 p.m. and June 25 at 10:30 p.m.
Another nearby resident, in the Fife Road and Wellington Street West area, saw one running back and forth through on the other side of her fence around 9 p.m. about a week ago.
“I was in the back having a smoke and there was a coyote on the other side of the fence running back and forth,” Bobbi-Jo Lee said.
It was around that time she noticed her cat, who usually lounges in the backyard, had gone missing.
“I’m pretty sure the coyotes got her. It’s heartbreaking. We hear them howling all night long,” she said.
Coyote Watch Canada (CWC) has received numerous reports in the area of fox and coyote sightings recently. Still, they are nothing to be alarmed about, according to Lesley Sampson, CWC's co-founding executive director.
Sampson says coyotes have always thrived in urban environments, so seeing them in residential areas shouldn't be a surprise.
"Just because you're seeing them there now on cameras doesn't mean they weren't always there," she said.
Plus, it's pup-raising time from March until September, so coyotes tend to be more active as they hunt to feed their families.
"But if there are regular sightings, that's an indication that there is feeding going on," Sampson said.
While she says some people are deliberately feeding coyotes, most often it's unintentional. For instance, things like overflowing bird feeders, mishandled compost, or fallen fruit can attract a range of insects, rodents, and birds, which will in turn attract coyotes to the area.
To prevent unintentional feeding, CWC advises people not to feed wildlife, to keep pet food and water bowls indoors, keep trash cans covered with wildlife-proof lids, and to pick ripened fruit and clean any rotted fruit that has fallen on the ground.
To keep your pets safe, they suggest you keep them supervised at all times, and on-leash during walks.
While coyote deterrents are available, Sampson says not to use them, but instead to follow the above methods.
"Most of that stuff comes in from the states, and those animals are in captive situations. You should be removing attractants (instead)."
If you see a coyote, pick up small children and pets. Don't turn your back or run: back away slowly, waving your arms above your head, and yell "go away" loudly. It's also smart to carry a flashlight to scare them away at night.
If a coyote becomes aggressive, call 911. Report any coyote sightings to the City of Guelph. For more information on co-existing with coyotes, visit coyotewatchcanada.com.