Coyote Pupping Season is Here

Spring is the denning season for coyotes living in Vancouver.  With new pups to feed and protect, coyotes are more active this time of year and may become defensive when approached near their den sites.  The best thing to do if you come across a den site or see a coyote pup, is to report it to the Stanley Park Ecology Society’s (SPES) Co-Existing with Coyotes program at 604-681-WILD or online.  It’s also wise to avoid the area.

Coyote Pups - Credit Mark White (1)

Coyote pups venture out of their den. (Photo by Mark T White)

Coyotes are naturally wary of people, hunting and feeding on small rodents at night.  Coyotes try to avoid people by building their dens in secluded locations around hidden areas of parks and ravines, behind thick blackberry bushes, or under vacant buildings.

From April to July, the curious young coyotes are learning the skills they need to survive in the city.  We can do our part to help keep coyotes wild by never feeding them and by removing potential food sources—like loose garbage, open compost, wild fruits, pet food and bird seed—from our yards and parks.  Reducing these attractants will help coyote pups learn to hunt their natural foods.

Coyotes primarily eat rats, squirrels and rabbits, but will take almost anything they can get a hold of.  As opportunistic predators, they will eat fish, fruit, berries, nuts, eggs, insects, and even garbage.  Although many coyotes live in family groups, rarely will more than one or two coyotes be seen together as they tend to hunt and travel alone or in pairs.

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A coyote catches a squirrel in Stanley Park. (Photo by Michael Schmidt)

As coyote sightings increase throughout the spring, it is good to remember to keep our dogs on a leash and cats indoors to avoid any unnecessary conflicts.

These simple actions help keep people, pets and coyotes safe.  For more tips and information or to report a coyote sighting, please call 604-681-WILD or visit www.stanleyparkecology.ca.

– By Greg Hart, SPES Urban Wildlife Programs Coordinator