What to do if you encounter a coyote

Last updated October 5, 2022

Have you seen what you suspect is a coyote? What should you do? In general, coyotes do not pose a threat to human safety, provided that certain guidelines are observed. In particular, it’s important never to feed a coyote. Learn more about what to do if you should encounter a coyote.

Recognizing a coyote

A coyote may be mistaken for a fox or certain canine breeds. Here is how to recognize a coyote.

Physical features

  • Size: The coyote is taller than a fox and is about the size of a German shepherd. Coyotes are taller than knee height, unlike foxes.
  • Fur: Usually grey, while foxes are often red.
  • Tip of the tail: Usually black for coyotes and white for foxes.
  • Paws: A coyote’s paws are usually grey, like its fur. A fox’s front paws are black.

If you see what you suspect is a coyote, please report it to us.

Your sightings help us manage coyotes in urban environments.

Responsible actions for improved coexistence

At all times

  • It is strictly forbidden to feed coyotes and other wild animals, except stray cats under the TNRM program.
  • Never approach a wild animal, even if it is injured.
  • Avoid feeding domestic animals outdoors.
  • Keep your household garbage in animal-resistant bins.
  • Keep your dog on a leash and only walk on marked trails.
  • Keep your cat indoors, particularly at night.
  • Pick up fruit that has fallen from trees, as it is a food source for coyotes.
  • Block access to your property, balcony, shed and garden.

Any time you encounter a coyote

  • Stay calm.
  • Give the coyote the space it needs to move away.
  • Never let your dog interact with a coyote.
  • Keep your dog close or carry your dog in your arms.
  • Move away, but never turn your back on the coyote.
  • Always maintain visual contact with the coyote.
  • Do not run.

If the coyote does not leave

  • Make yourself bigger by raising your arms, making noise or yelling to scare the coyote.
  • Throw objects in the coyote’s direction, without targeting the coyote directly so as not to make it more aggressive.
  • Contact 911 in the event of an emergency.

For more about birds and other wild animals, visit the birds and other wild animals page.

Learn more about the topic

Shows borough content for
Find a borough to filter the list of search content.