ontario coyote

Coyote strolls onto Toronto schoolyard during recess and freaks people out

Coyote sightings are fairly common in Toronto and the animals are sometimes spotted harmlessly strolling near ravine systems or large grassy fields, but it's not too often that one of them wanders onto a schoolyard while recess is in session.

That's exactly what happened on a playground near Queens Quay and Bathurst this week, according to Reddit user Ron_Textall

The Reddit user posted photos of the coyote online Monday, saying it walked right up to a schoolyard during recess.

And while the photos show a small, relatively unthreatening-looking animal, the Torontonian warned locals to keep an eye on their small pets just in case. 

The Toronto resident also said the coyote was bold when it came to approaching people, giving the impression that it may have been hungry — but crowds were reportedly eventually able to force it out of the schoolyard and into Little Norway Park. 

A number of bystanders also called 311, Toronto Animal Services and the Toronto Wildlife Centre, according to the Reddit user, as some said it looked like it may have been sick with mange and in need of medical treatment.

According to wildlife experts, coyote sightings have drastically increased in recent years, and this is partially due to humans feeding them. 

"Foxes and coyotes are normally afraid of people and try to avoid them—but in cramped city living quarters, we are bound to run into each other once in a while,"  writes the Toronto Wildlife Centre.

"It is unusual for these species to approach people, but when it occurs, it is usually seen in animals that have become habituated because people feed them. Sometimes the feeding is intentional, but more often foxes and coyotes get used to being around urban dwellings when pet food and scraps from garbage or compost are not well contained."

Coyotes that don't run away when encountering humans or as a reaction to loud noises are likely either accustomed to being fed by them or sick, according to TWC, so bystanders should always contact a wildlife rehabilitator for advice when coming into contact with one.

And while the wildlife centre says coyotes usually pose no real threat to humans, they do tend to prey on free-roaming pets (mainly cats), as the Reddit user warned, so be sure to keep your furry friends close if a coyote has been spotted in your area. 

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