News Flash

Village of Park Forest - Top Story News

Posted on: March 9, 2023

Frequently Asked Questions about Coyotes

Coyotes nf size

Are Coyotes in Park Forest? Yes

Over the past several years, coyote sightings have become more prevalent within the village and surrounding communities. Although you may be shocked to see a coyote running through the Park Forest, it is not unusual. Due to the rapid habitat loss by development, many coyotes have found themselves forced to cohabit with humans.

Where do they live?

Coyotes usually reside in brushy areas, wooded edges, and open grasses. They are not found in heavily wooded areas, as many people believe. 

Coyotes tend to travel along trails, paths, and waterways. They are most active at night but are often seen during the day, especially in the summer when their pups are more active. Coyotes sometimes hunt in family units but are usually alone or in male/female pairs. They do not form “packs” like their wolf cousins.

What do they eat?

The diet of coyotes consists primarily of small mammals, including mice, rabbits, and moles, but they will also eat fruits and vegetables, especially in the fall. Coyotes rarely kill prey larger than themselves.

Do they attack humans?

Statistics from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources call attacks on humans extremely rare, with only 16 documented cases in North America in the last 30 or so years. Most of these cases occurred when people tried to hand feed the animals.

  • Residents with small pets (less than 20 pounds) should supervise them while outdoors as you would a small child.
  • According to the Village ordinance, ALWAYS use a leash when walking your dog on public property. Retractable leashes are not recommended as they jam and can make it difficult for you to reel your pet from a predator.

Residents need to keep their dogs on leashes, supervise them outdoors at dusk and after dark, and keep their cats indoors.

What should I do?

  • Do not leave food out for coyotes or other wildlife.
  • People who feed wild animals are creating a potentially dangerous situation. Wild animals are smart to recognize that people are the source of their food.
  • They will become less fearful of humans and will tend to approach more often, potentially becoming a hazard for children and pets.
  • Parents should educate their children on identifying and staying away from coyotes and other wildlife.
  • If possible, keep your garbage cans in the garage.
  • When letting your dog out at dusk or after dark, check the yard for any wild animals. Dogs should never be let off the leash when there is a presence of coyotes in the area. If you know, coyotes are in the area, remain in the yard with your dog. Be aware coyotes can jump fences up to approximately 5-6 feet, so if coyotes are present in your neighborhood, remain in the yard with your dog.
  • Turn lights on and make some noise to scare off any possible wild animals that may be in the immediate area.

Following these simple precautions will reduce the risk of a coyote or other wild animal preying on your pets.

Coyote Facts

  • 80 percent of a coyote’s diet is comprised of mice and other rodents. They are nature’s version of rodent control. They are omnivores and eat watermelons, insects, apples, dog food from back porches, and fish.
  • Coyotes are not endangered.
  • Killing a coyote may actually increase the population the following year.
  • A coyote can have a personal range of 2,000 to 10,000 acres.
  • Coyotes are timid animals with a natural fear of humans. They are curious animals and may watch you from a distance. Usually, they will run from you long before you see them.
  • Coyotes are monogamous and mate for life.

Coyotes Appearance

  • Sometimes mistaken for a German Shepherd or a Husky
  • Approximately 24 inches tall and weighing between 20 and 50 pounds
  • Yellowish gray with a whitish throat and belly
  • Long, coarse fur
  • Dark band down their back
  • Bushy, blacked tipped tail
  • Runs with tail downward and may attain speeds of 40 mph
  • Lives in a burrow

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