Brazen coyote - Heart Lake, Brampton

by Ed
(Brampton, Ontario, Canada)

My girlfriend and I have been taking our high-energy dogs to this park for over a year now, usually when the park is closed and there aren't any/many people there so that we can let them run free while we hike.

On a few occasions we've heard Coyotes after dark, usually at a distance. Last night, 25/10/12, before 9pm, we walked in from the gate, North to the end of the road, then back South to the other end of the road, and turned back North while the dogs ran loose, periodically returning to us when called back. On the way back North, as we approached the parking lot by the Splash Pad, we called the dogs back, not having seen them for a couple of minutes. They returned and were walking a few metres behind us when my girlfriend's dog, (6 yr-old Australian shepherd female), growled an unusual growl.

She turned around, said there was another dog, and called her dog to her side. I didn't hear dog tags or see any humans around and saw the shape of a Coyote with a deeper chest than I thought coyotes had about 3-4 metres away. My dog, (3 yr-old GSD/Rott cross female), was cautiously moving toward it. My dog came to my side when called back, which was somewhat unlike her usual behaviour when meeting a new dog. The coyote stood its ground, showing no fear. It appeared that it wanted to play with the dogs, but the dogs must have sensed something because they didn't react to it in the same way they usually greet strange dogs.

With our dogs by our sides, I looked back up and the Coyote was still there, 3-3.5 metres behind us. I wanted to take some pictures, but there wasn't enough light for my phone's camera, and my girlfriend had left her phone in the car.

I yelled at the Coyote in a loud, deep voice, thinking it would run away in fear,(I'm 6'3", about 215 lbs), but the animal showed no fear. I then picked up a handful of gravel from the road and yelled at it again while I faked a charge toward it and threw the gravel at it. It slowly retreated onto the field to the West about 25-30 metres and stopped, still looking at us, showing no fear.

We confidently continued to walk our now-leashed dogs around the parking lot while conversing about the encounter. As we got back onto the road where we met the animal about 10 minutes prior, we heard a long, loud howl coming from a small thicket on the East side of the road about 30 metres behind us. I yelled back at the thicket in a loud, deep voice. The animal howled right back!

I yelled at it again and it didn't respond. I'm not sure if the animal that went West doubled back and followed us or if this was another animal.

I always thought Coyotes, being wild animals, would want to steer clear of humans, but this one was really brazen, not showing any fear. I'm wondering if the deep chest and the fearlessness of this animal would be indicative of it being a Coydog, or if this was normal behaviour for a Coyote.

Wow, thank you for telling us about your encounter.

This is pretty interesting - the playful behaviour has been reported many times, and the Coyotes have been known to coax pet dogs to "play" with them - only to lure them away to where the other Coyotes are waiting. I'm glad your dogs didn't fall for that trick!

Coyotes, unlike Wolves, adapt to humans in their environment, so it is likely that what you saw were Coyotes, but a Coy-Wolf is also a possibility as they can, and do, interbreed, although Wolves are much less likely to be seen in an urban environment.

Thanks again for writing to us, this is most interesting

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