As our community continues to grow, we expand into the natural territory of many wild animals. As they adapt to their environment, they can be found living in our backyards, in and under our sheds, porches, garages and decks.

Although we do not respond directly to wildlife concerns, we do provide information and reference to external services that would be able to assist.

The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) is responsible for addressing wildlife related issues within the province of Ontario. The MNR typically only assigns priority to emergency situations however they can be reached at 1.800.667.1940

Below you will find information on:

  • nuisance wildlife
  • sick, injured or orphaned wildlife
  • public health and rabies

Rodent Control

Urban environments can provide excellent habitats for rodents to survive and thrive. Although the City does not respond to wildlife issues, we do investigate issues relating to overgrown grass and weeds that would encourage rodent activity within a residential area. Please contact our Customer Care Centre at 905.683.7575 to report details if you are concerned about a neighbouring property. Otherwise, please visit the Durham Region Health Department's website for facts about rodent control.

Coyotes

Sightings of coyotes are very normal, and much like birds, squirrels, raccoons and other animals, they have found a permanent home in urban areas, including Pickering.  Below are a few measures residents can take for coyotes, wildlife, pets and people to safely and comfortably coexist.

  • Give coyotes space.

  • Discourage their visits to residential yards by installing motion-sensitive lighting, keeping meat products out of compost bins, remembering not to leave pet or human food outdoors, and storing garbage in secure containers.

  • Reduce contact with coyotes by avoiding the areas they frequent, especially at key activity hours during dawn and dusk.

  • If you encounter a coyote, stay calm and let him move on. Do not approach. If you feel threatened, make a loud noise or sudden movement to scare the animal off. Most likely, a coyote that stops to stare is only curious and has no plan to approach or attack. On solitary walks, carry a personal alarm, flashlight and umbrella you can open and close to frighten off a coyote if one does approach.

Coyotes are omnivores and will eat whatever is available such as small mammals and birds, carrion, fruit and improperly stored garbage. The coyote's diet will also change depending on its surrounding environment. 

Natural Diet

Small rodents such as mice, groundhogs and rabbits. Also birds, eggs, snakes, turtles, frogs, fish, fruit, plants, carrion and road kill. They are not known to hunt deer but may try to hunt sheep or young calves if in desperate need.

Urban Diet

Garbage that overflows from residential dumpsters or garbage that is carelessly stored outdoors. Garbage often attracts mice and rats, which in turn attracts coyotes and foxes into residential areas.

Outdoor Animals

Cats (allowed outdoors)
Rabbits (confined in pens)
Livestock (poultry and other non-pets)

Animal Services Staff will not investigate calls regarding coyote sightings. However, any sick, injured, or abnormally acting wildlife may be reported to our Customer Care Centre at 905.683.7575 or customercare@pickering.ca.

Further information can be found at coyotewatchcanada.com or visit the Canadian Association for Humane Trapping (CAHT) website for fact sheets and information on the biology and awareness of coyotes.

Protecting our Deer Population (proper fencing)

3 deer in fieldOver the past few years Animal Services has received numerous calls regarding deer being entangled or impaled on wrought iron fencing. The majority of these fences back onto forested areas.

Although wrought iron fences are aesthetically pleasing, and provide an almost clear view to the beauty of the forest behind, some fence designs are more deer friendly than others.

Fencing to Avoid

Avoid fences with spikes, pickets or barbs that protrude above the top bar. Many wrought iron fence designs have decorative spikes on top. Gauging a jump by the uppermost horizontal bar, animals can misjudge the fence height and be lethally caught or impaled on the fence.

fencing examples

What if I already have a fence?

If you already have a fence that is not deer friendly, you may want to consider cutting off pickets above the top horizontal bar, or installing either individual rounded caps over the pickets, or another horizontal bar that tops the pickets all the way across.  Keeping the fence line free of debris on both sides will make it less attractive to the deer to try to jump the fence.

What to do if you see a deer in your yard?

If you do happen to find a deer in your back yard, leave the gate to your yard open, and it will safely find its way out.  Shooing or scaring the deer may result in injury to it or to you. A frightened deer will want to escape and may panic, charging, sometimes through a door or window. The best thing to do is to stay calm, quiet and enjoy the view!       

Black Bears

Black bears live throughout most of Ontario, and although primarily inhabit forested areas, they will travel long distances if food is scarce making it possible for them to find their way to Pickering.

Since Spring 2019 the City has received and spotted a bear frequenting the Greenwood Trail area near Concession 5. 

The Ministry of Natural Resources deals with calls regarding bears. They have a Bear Wise program intended to inform you on how to prevent and report black bear sightings.

Bears usually avoid humans, but they are attracted into urban and rural areas in order to get food.

Below are some tips to help minimize your interactions with a bear:
  • Keep your dog on a leash! Uncontrolled, untrained dogs may lead a bear to you
  • Do not leave food or garbage laying around, please use garbage cans provided

  • Stay on the paths and do not wander into forested areas

  • Scan your surroundings and do not wear music headphone
  • Watch for signs of bear activity (ex:, tracks, claw marks on trees, flipped-over rocks or fresh bear droppings)
  • If you see a bear, slowly walk in the opposite direction. Do not run.

In the event of an emergency, please call 911

Further information on bears can be found at bearsmart.com 

Nuisance Wildlife

Chipmunk, Coyote, Rabbit, Deer

As well as being illegal to relocate adult wild animals more than 1 km of where you found them, there are many drawbacks to trapping and relocating them:

  • The animal does not usually survive the relocation. When introduced to a new and unfamiliar area, a relocated animal has no idea where to find food, water or shelter, and has to contend with other wildlife defending the territory they already occupy.

  • There is a high risk of causing orphaning of wild babies. The young of the relocated animal are often left behind, and by the time the babies are found, there is no way to re-unite them with their mother who has been relocated to another area.

  • It encourages the spread of diseases such as rabies.

For the "do-it-yourselfer", trapping and performing wildlife removal and animal proofing can be a dangerous undertaking and we feel it is best left to a trained professional. For your safety and the well-being of wildlife, please review the following information about selecting professional services.

Seeking Private Professional Services

Before contacting a private wildlife removal company, Pickering Animal Services advises residents to contact Toronto Wildlife Centre at 416.631.0662 for tips on how to humanely solve and prevent human-wildlife conflicts. If you have already pursued this option and the problem is not resolved, you may want to contact a private wildlife removal company for help.

How to choose a reliable and reputable private wildlife removal company:

  • Check online resources for Animal and Pest Control.
  • Choose a company whose employees seem professional and knowledgeable about various wildlife habitats and behaviours.
  • Speak with the employees; do they appear to care about their work, the animals involved, and the concern of the homeowner? Does the employee take the time to explain what the source of the problem is and its causes and possible solutions?
  • Do they provide more than one recommendation to resolve the problem?
  • Is the company willing to come to the property, examine the problem, and provide an accurate estimate?
  • Choose a company that will provide you with a written estimate indicating all possible costs upfront.
  • Ensure the desired company will allow full payment after the work is complete.
  • Ensure that the company will provide a written guarantee for at least 6 months, and preferably 1 year for both service and any equipment that was installed. You should also be supplied with a warranty from the manufacturer of certain equipment (vents, chimney caps, screens, etc.).

Live Trapping and Relocation, is it Legal?

The most common method of Wildlife Removal is live trapping and relocation. The Ministry of Natural Resources has completed a great deal of research into the impact of relocating wildlife back into our environment. Research has shown that the relocation of wildlife has resulted in premature death for both adults and their young. Relocation was also found to be a key contributing factor for the spread of Rabies and other similar diseases.

In 1999, the Ontario Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act set a mandate stating that all trapped wildlife must be released within 24 hours of capture and must not be relocated more than 1 kilometre from its capture site.

Before choosing a wildlife company, you will want to find out the following questions pertaining to live trapping and relocation:

  • Do they live trap healthy adult/young animals? If so, where are they released?
  • What does the company do with the animals once they are captured? If they capture young, what precautions are taken to ensure the adult and babies stay together?
  • If the company came upon a sick/injured wildlife, what would they do, where do they take the animal?

In most instances it is inhumane and illegal to relocate wildlife. Repairing and eliminating the attractant and re-releasing the animal where it was found is a better long-term solution for both the resident and the animal. When dealing with young, it is always best to keep the babies with their mother. This will increase their chances of survival. As a consumer, you ultimately have the ability to choose any company you like. Pickering Animal Services suggests that you properly research the credentials, experience, and reliability of any Private Wildlife Removal Company before making a final decision.

 

Sick, Injured or Orphaned Wildlife

A wild animal usually has a higher chance of survival if left alone. If you feel the animal requires medical treatment contact a certified wildlife custodian for further assistance:

Public Health and Rabies

Rabies is an infectious disease that is caused by a virus distributed through various mammals, including wild and domestic animals. The rabies virus is spread from either animal to animal or animal to human through the saliva of an infected animal i.e. bites, scratches, licks on broken skin.

Visit the Region of Durham website for information about rabies, including how to report an animal bite.

Additional information on rabies is provided on the Ministry of Natural Resources website.

Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery: Wildlife will appear here on the public site.