11/11/2014 02:09 EST | Updated 01/11/2015 05:59 EST

Spate of coyote sightings sparks reminders that they fear us

With recent attacks on pets and at least one human, there is more awareness about coyotes in Toronto and its outlying areas.

In late October, a security camera captured a coyote attacking a pet dog in a Burlington backyard. Then a week later, what has been identified as a coywolf killed a Chihuahua in Mississauga.

A woman was reportedly bitten in Brampton by a coyote earlier this week.

On Tuesday, a coyote was seen wandering through the Guildwood area of Scarborough.

A dog walker, Lee Ellis, reported that the coyote looked to have mange. She was sympathetic to the animal. "We are in their territory. With all the development they have nowhere to go," she said.

The Toronto Wildlife Centre is reminding anyone who comes across a coyote that the animals are terrified of humans. The centre says bold or aggressive behaviour from coyotes is unusual.

"Under normal circumstances coyotes...are not a threat to people," says a post on the Wildlife Centre's site.

They also say coyotes are crucial to the local ecosystem.

Coyotes will seek food around urban dwellings when pet food and scraps from outdoor garbage or compost are not well-contained.

The Wildlife Centre issued the following tips for avoiding conflict with coyotes:

- Do not put out food for coyotes

- Keep waste in secure bins or store bins in a secure building or container.

- Do not put waste bins out until morning of pickup

- Make sure outdoor compost containers are wildlife-proof

- Remove fallen fruit from trees and scattered bird seed from feeders (these foods attract rodents which, in turn, attract coyotes)

- Keep pet food inside, and do not leave small pets unattended while outdoors