I live in a city in Ontario, Canada. If city coyotes are not showing signs of aggressive behaviour the city does not normally do anything.

My concern in my area is that this is a pack of at least 5 coyotes, near an active play park. I have seen them active during the day while small children are playing close by (20 to 40 yards away).

What can be done in order to ensure a child or anyone else doesn't get hurt?

  • Coyotes are not dumb. Any adults or dogs around and they know better than to mess with people. Even an 8- to 10-year old is way bigger than they want to mess with. If there are only 2-year old kids there might be an issue, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
    – Jon Custer
    Dec 5, 2018 at 14:07
  • 1
    This is not a duplicate of the three (actually only two) "possible duplicates" (PD) cited. The first PD is about the possible danger to a lone hiker or camper - certainly an adult -- in the woods. The second and third PDs are the same and are about the danger to the OP's small dog. This Q is about urban coyotes near a playground frequented by small children. It deserves an explicit answer, which should be more detailed than "keep an eye on the children."
    – ab2
    Dec 5, 2018 at 17:58
  • 2
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coyote_attack might help. There appears to be some danger to children (and larger folk).
    – Jon Custer
    Dec 6, 2018 at 0:19
  • 1
    I would say that this is a duplicate. Since the question says "a child or anyone else doesn't get hurt". Dec 14, 2018 at 8:34
  • 2
    Voting to re-open per ab2's argument Dec 14, 2018 at 15:02

1 Answer 1


Stay away from them, don't let your kids play outside after dusk by themselves and make sure they are being kids (i.e.- being loud and obnoxious) and keep all food near and around your home inaccessible (including trash cans- use bear country discipline to reduce food reward associated with people smell). Generally, Coyotes are cowards and will avoid humans (your dog is most likely to be a target). That said...

City Coyotes are sill a wild (vs domestic) animal and, like any animal in the wild, they have three goals, and three goals only:

  1. Eat
  2. Don't get eaten
  3. Make more of themselves

Anything which doesn't further one of those three goals they do not put energy toward (if you think about it, all animals do that, even humans...we just tend to complicate matters). Likewise, anything which threatens their ability to facilitate or maintain these three things will be protected against. Coyotes, while not the bottom of the food chain, are by no means apex predators and so are on constant watch and protect themselves at all cost. They don't even hunt like other predators- one will either act injured to lure prey to them, or playfull to get prey (such as a domesticated dog) to give chase then the pack pounces to make the kill.

Humans, while a source of food for "City Coyotes", are also a threat to them, and will generally tend to avoid humans. So do your best to limit how much they associate people with food to keep them from wanting to be around people and you increase safety.

Additionally, coyotes are a known carrier of rabies, a disease spread through contact with saliva (not a bite, simply saliva coming into contact with the skin and finding a portal of entry to the body- cut, pimple, scab, etc). It is a neurological disease which, upon entering the body, travels through the nervous system to the brain. Symptoms develop once it reaches the brain and, once the virus reaches the brain, it has a 100% mortality rate. DON'T ATTEMPT TO FEED OR PET THEM AND SEE A DOCTOR FOR A RABIES SHOT IF ONE LICKS YOU. Rabies can be transmitted in the saliva of an animal for several weeks postmortem depending on decay rate.

  • 2
    Your 3 points are an oversimplification. Both feral dogs and coyotes are learning to use stop lights in cities. Not avoiding being eaten, but increasing survival. Coyotes play. And they give concerts -- hence the nickname 'song dog'. They do investigate new things. They probe and test too. We had a coyote chase our border collie into our yard, where the dog then turned around and chased it back. Dec 14, 2018 at 16:34
  • @Sherwood Botsford Do you have a reference for feral dogs and coyotes using stop lights? It would be a fascinating to read about this. I find it credible, because I had a cat who looked both ways before crossing our road. I saw this many times. (The cat died of kidney disease at 17.)
    – ab2
    Dec 15, 2018 at 14:44
  • I maintain my assertion- all points you offered still fall within the 3 goals- play & concerts are forms of social interaction, building relationships within the pack. It facilitates not only mate choice but pack cooperation & drive to protect for purposes which would otherwise be altruistic & may be contrary to preservation of self, but do support making more of themselves (or the protection thereof). Don't confuse intelligence for a lack of instinct; learning to respond to dangers in their environment (red lights) is a preservation of self and your dog was likely a target for prey.
    – WilderBum
    Dec 15, 2018 at 19:21
  • @ab2 themarysue.com/stray-dogs-can-cross-streets This was not the original story I saw. This story makes no mention of coyotes. google stray|feral crosswalk|stoplight dog. youtube.com/watch?v=ELUmfyDj_Pc vid of a coyote waiting for a green light to cross. humansandnature.org/commuting-coyotes midway; Admittedly, not common. Dec 16, 2018 at 16:21

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