Wildlife in Saint-Lazare
From time to time, the Town of Saint-Lazare receives phone calls from concerned citizens who have spotted coyotes on their property. We are certain that the animals seen on the territory are in fact coyotes, because the wolf has long been extinct in the region.
A reality to be faced
The Town of Saint-Lazare is far from being a “concrete downtown”. As a reminder, the town spreads over a mainly forested area of 67 km ². Wildlife, including moose, deer, coyotes, foxes, raccoons and bears also share our territory and are an integral part of our reality. Usually discreet when they pass on our territory, it is possible, occasionally, that some of these animals end-up in a residential area. This was the case with the black bear that had cross residential sectors in June 2007.
The coyote is easy to recognize. In general, it is smaller than the wolf. A male weighs between 9 and 23 kg and measures 1.2 to 1.5 meters in length including the tail. Females are slightly smaller. Coyotes have large pointed ears, a black tapered nose and yellow eyes. The colour of their coat can vary but mostly it blends well with its surroundings. In contrast to the wolf, the coyote’s tail is bushy and remains low when the animal is in movement. And move it can! The coyote can reach a top speed of 64 km/hr. A typical territory for an individual coyote is 40 to 50 square km.
Coyotes are usually solitary animals. However, it is not uncommon to find small same-sex groups. These are not the same type of structured packs as in wolves but rather temporary opportunistic groupings. Moreover, coyotes are not finicky eaters. Coyotes will eat almost anything. Although the coyote does seem to prefer small rodents, he won’t stop there and will happily consume rotting meat, fruit, insects and even cat food!
Attracted by an abundance of food, it is possible to find coyotes in urban areas. Forested areas and open fields, like the west side of Côte Saint-Charles, are propitious places for these animals. Never attempt to tame a coyotes by offering food. Coyotes must conserve their fear of humans! Instead, chase them from your property by making loud noises.
- Do not approach them;
- Do not tame them;
- Do not feed wild animals including deer, cats and raccoons;
- Never leave food nor garbage outside;
- If you feed birds, be sure to keep the feeding area clean and regularly pick up fallen seeds;
- Pick up fruit fallen from fruit trees in your yard;
- Keep your yard clean and tidy in order to prevent creating hiding placed for small rodents;
- If you see coyotes on your property, attempt to scare them away by making loud noises;
- Always stay vigilant.