Humans are not the only ones that live in Markham. Foxes, coyotes, rats and other wildlife can be spotted from time to time. Residents can take measures to ensure a peaceful co-existence with our wild neighbours.
Foxes and coyotes are adaptable intelligent animals that can be found in rural and urban areas throughout Ontario. They are often found near ravine systems, large grassy fields, and large parks; small mammals are a main staple in their diet.
Foxes and coyotes are an important part of our shared, local ecosystems. By understanding their behaviour, we can learn to coexist peacefully and even develop a deeper appreciation for our wild neighbours. Typically, foxes and coyotes are unlikely to initiate contact with people. But we understand, occasionally, they get too close for comfort.
Limiting human food sources is the best way to prevent encounters with these animals - but, most importantly, to help keep them wild:
Do not put out food for animals.
Keep waste in secure bins or store bins in a secure building or container.
Do not put waste bins out until the morning of pick-up.
Make sure outdoor compost containers are wildlife-proof.
Remove fallen fruit from trees and scattered bird seed from feeders.
Keep pet food inside, and do not leave small pets outdoors unattended.
If you do encounter a coyote who does not run away immediately, you can do the following:
Make noise, yell, clap your hands, stomp and wave your arms.
Do not approach the animal.
Carry a whistle or noisemaker if you are walking in known habitat areas.
If you find that the animal is sick or injured, please report it to our wildlife service provider, by calling 905.415.7531. It is also important to keep your furry family members safe. Keep your cats or small dogs indoors or supervised outside. Walk your dogs on a leash and do not leave them out unattended.
Why can’t coyotes be relocated?
Capture and relocation of coyotes more than one kilometer away is not permitted under Ontario's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. Research shows wildlife relocated from urban areas usually return home or become a problem elsewhere. In addition, when coyotes are hunted or lethally destroyed, remaining ones compensate by producing larger litters and expanding their range. Only in rare cases where an individual coyote is demonstrating unusual / aggressive behaviour or severe trauma or illness do animal control agencies attempt to capture coyotes.
Freshwater turtles are reptiles, like snakes and lizards. Eight species of native freshwater turtles live in Canada. All of them are, or have a population or subspecies that is, at risk. A turtle’s shells is mainly used for protection from predators. All turtles need access to both water and land to complete their life cycle, and they inhabit a variety of freshwater habitats, from a variety of wetlands to lakes, streams and rivers, including in Markham.
Other turtle facts:
There are 8 different types of turtles that are indigenous to Ontario, most of which are at risk!
Did you know some turtles can live upwards of 70+ years
It is illegal to remove wildlife of any kind from public lands in Markham, including turtles
It is illegal to harm turtles
DO NOT release your pet turtle into the wild, please contact a turtle conservation centre for assistance
A large population of Canada Geese can cause damage to parklands, and their droppings can create unhealthy conditions and pollute natural waterways, ponds and swimming pools.
Do not approach nests. Geese will aggressively defend nests and can inflict injury with their beak and wings.
Watch for warning signs. Geese will pump their heads up and down as a sign of aggression as well as hissing and honking at threats.
Remain calm. If you find yourself faced with an aggressive goose it’s best to remain calm, stand straight, maintain eye contact and back away slowly. Don’t make threatening motions or sounds and avoid turning your back and running away.
In the unlikely event that a goose does injure you it’s advised to seek medical help immediately.
Never feed geese. Supplementing their diet will increase their numbers and reduce their fear of humans. It also increases their numbers in high-traffic areas such as parks and sportsfields.