Urban Coyotes

With hundreds of hectares of natural areas within and surrounding the city, Spruce Grove, is home to a variety of wildlife species, including coyotes. Coyotes are an important part of local ecology as they discourage cougars, bears and other large wildlife from residing in the area.

Coyotes have adapted to urban areas as there are limited predators and more readily available food sources such as garbage, compost and pet food left outside.

Typically, coyotes are curious but shy around people. In most cases, people, pets and coyotes can co-exist without concern. While coyote sightings are to be expected within and around Spruce Grove, it is also important to understand and be prepared for potential interactions.

What is considered typical behaviour?

  • Hunting and catching small rodents
  • Following you or your pet from a distance of more than 40 metres
  • Curiously gazing at you or your pet from a distance

What is considered problematic behaviour?

  • A coyote approaches you or your leashed pet within 20 metres
  • A coyote follows you or your leashed pet closely from a distance of less than 20 metres
  • A coyote enters a fenced residential yard by jumping over the fence
  • Growling or snarling
  • A coyote bites, nips or makes other physical contacts with a pet or person

Why would a coyote follow you?

Coyotes typically follow people because they are near a den and the coyote is trying to direct the person away from the den.

What to do if you encounter a coyote?

  • Make the coyote feel unwelcome by clapping your hands loudly or shouting.
  • Carry a whistle and blow it to startle the animal.
  • Do not turn away or run. This may trigger a natural predator/prey instinct and might encourage the coyote to chase after you.
  • If the coyote continues to approach, back away slowly and move toward buildings or human activity. The coyote may be near food or a den resulting in their refusal to leave the area.

How to prevent and reduce coyote interactions:

  • Remove food sources on private property:
    • Do not leave pet food outside
    • Clean up spilled garbage or food scraps
    • Clean up fallen fruit from fruit trees
  • Never feed coyotes
  • Always walk your dog on a leash
  • Attach a bell to your dog or cat’s collar
  • Carry a whistle
  • Do not allow your pets (dogs and cats) to roam outside of your property
  • Clean up pet waste
  • If a coyote is visiting an area on a recurring basis, use loud noises to try to discourage it from revisiting the area to stop normalizing the location for the coyote.

When to report a coyote sighting:

Most reports of coyote sightings do not require reporting or intervention as the coyote is demonstrating typical and non-problematic behaviour.

To prevent problematic coyote interactions, you should always report coyote interactions when:

  • A coyote is injured or sick and cannot move
  • Someone is intentionally feeding a coyote
  • A coyote bites or nips a pet or person

When a coyote is reported, the incident will be tracked and then if deemed problematic, it will be passed on to the appropriate department or agency for investigation and determination of what, if any, action will be taken.

To report a problematic coyote sighting, please call the Spruce Grove Enforcement Services complaint line at 780-962-7586.