City Reminds Residents To Keep Watchful Eye For Coyotes
With winter in full swing, City officials are issuing a reminder that there is another species prepared for the cold—coyotes.
Aurora Animal Control and Care officials say that coyotes may be spotted more in Aurora neighborhoods at this time of year. The reasons are because the coyotes’ mating cycles result in younger animals leaving their family territories and venturing out on their own and that they are also on the hunt for more food as they get ready for winter. Although they are a common wild animal in Illinois, their population has experienced a large increase over the past two decades, especially in the Chicago area.
So far in 2012, Aurora Animal Control and Care has received 150 calls for coyote sightings compared to 40 in 2011. Although many of the sightings have been in areas near wooded or rural locations, calls have been placed from neighborhoods Citywide.
While coyotes are mostly nocturnal and are leery of people, they can still be dangerous and unpredictable. Small children should never be left alone. It is also not unusual for the animals to attack dogs or other pets. However, the majority of attacks could be prevented by following some simple safety rules.
Since in the wild, coyotes primarily feed on rabbits, rodents, birds, fruit, and insects; the most effective way to prevent attacks is to avoid feeding them either intentionally or accidentally. Coyotes can be attracted to bird and squirrel feeders, bread that is fed to ducks and geese, pet food that is left outside, and other unintentional food sources. When coyotes find these types of food in residential areas, they may lose their fear of humans and eventually test both people and pets as possible prey.
If a coyote is spotted during the daytime, people should exhibit caution since the animal may have become habituated to humans and thus more likely to attack. People approached by a coyote should yell, wave their arms, and/or throw an object at the animal – but should never run away. It is also a good idea to carry a walking stick when in areas that could be inhabited by coyotes. Young children should not be left unattended in areas where coyotes may live. It is likewise important that family pets such as dogs and cats – especially those smaller in size – not be left unwatched while outside.
Coyotes are attracted to cluttered areas including brush piles and old construction sites so keeping those types of areas clear will help prevent them from lingering in a particular area.
Wildlife experts agree that trapping and removing coyotes should only be performed as a last resort and seldom results in the animals staying away from a particular area over the long term. The best solution is for citizens to make their neighborhoods unattractive to coyotes.
City officials remind residents that removal of nuisance wildlife from private property is the homeowner’s responsibility and is best left to professional contractors with the proper training, experience, equipment, and state permits. Private contractors handling nuisance issues can be found in the phone directory by looking under “wildlife removal services” and many are on-call 24 hours a day. Contractors with proper state permits can also be found online, organized by county, at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website: www.dnr.illinois.gov.
Immediately report any coyote sightings to the Aurora Animal Control and Care Division at 630-256-3630, 24 hours a day. In case of a coyote attack on a human, call 911. Residents are encouraged to visit www.aurora-il.org for more information on coyotes and to sign up for email alerts and/or follow the City on Twitter and Facebook.
Location: Aurora, Illinois
Release Date—November 2nd, 2012