What to do if you encounter a coyote

Last updated June 19, 2024

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.

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