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Sunday, March 3, 2024

Naperville residents encouraged to be aware of coyote sightings


Recommended steps may help keep coyotes in their natural habitat

UPDATE Aug. 24, 2016 / Coyotes have been spotted along Kingsley elementary school on Ring Road and across the street from Kingsley in the old Farm Park area.  According to Diane Kluck, the animals were spotted in the morning while children were walking to school.

Earlier this summer, coyotes, some that appeared sick, were reported present near other Naperville areas in Countryside near May Watts Pond, Brook Crossing and Springbrook Forest Preserve near 75th Street. Other folks have reported them in neighborhoods on Naperville’s northside.

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Suzanne Hart chimed in that “We have at least two coyotes with mange in south Naperville.”

I was walking my dog down Westbrook Circle a few nights ago, and saw a coyote cross the road and go into Kingsley Prairie,” wrote Heather Donahue. “I’ve seen them a few times in the neighborhood, and I hear them quite often at night.

Simply be prepared to see wildlife

Thanks to residents for sending sightings so PN can update this post, reminding parents and adults to talk to youngsters about the wildlife that lives among us.

Let wildlife stay wild. Never leave food outside that could be available for coyote, skunks, raccoons, deer, waterfowl or any wildlife.

Via Facebook on Aug. 24, Glenn Eckholm asked, “This is news? They are all over McDowell grove and stroll through our neighborhood regularly. Just this morning I saw one crossing Mill near Nike carrying a rabbit in its mouth.”

Jessica Doucette added, “… I saw one during the day strolling along Mill across from Nike Park on Saturday. I think people unfamiliar with the prevalence of coyotes may think they are dogs.”

Maria Westerhold suggested another article that may be of interest – a study followed Chicago’s urban coyotes. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/…/141121-coyotes…/

When you must walk where coyotes have been spotted, keep a large trash bag in your pocket and shake open to inflate, if necessary. Coyotes don’t like the sound or the movement.

Local initiatives in the parks and along the Riverwalk remind well-meaning folks not to feed wildlife—waterfowl (ducks and geese), coyotes, raccoons, skunks, deer and the list of animals goes on and on.

Coyote sightings in both urban and suburban settings appear to be more frequent. The good news is that most coyotes prefer to stay away from humans.

However, human-coyote encounters have occurred and can be unnerving.

According to the City of Naperville’s Animal Control, residents can be prepared and take steps to minimize their exposure to a coyote and hopefully protect themselves and their domestic pets.

· Do not encourage coyotes by feeding them; coyotes that are fed can lose their fear of people.

· Keep pet food and water dishes inside.

· Keep grills and barbecues clean.

· If possible, do not keep garbage cans outside.  If garbage cans must be outside, keep the lids securely fastened. Raccoons are smart and handy!

· Clear all bushes and dense weeds near the home where coyotes might go for cover.

Like domestic dogs, coyotes test their limits around humans. Each encounter teaches a coyote something new, and without negative reinforcements, a coyote can develop aggressive habits.

Let wildlife stay wild.

Steps to take in the event of a human-coyote encounter

· Exhibit caution, but be confident and bold. Make loud noises and make yourself look larger by raising your hands above your head or flaring clothing; this type of reaction may help to re-instill a fear of humans.

· Do not be submissive, turn your back, or run.

· If you are followed by a coyote, you are likely walking through its territory and it is merely escorting or “shadowing” you to make sure you are not a threat.

· Although unlikely, if you encounter aggressive behavior, throw clods of earth or sticks near the ground by the coyote first, and then, if necessary, toward its body – never at its head.

Survival for coyotes is difficult, and they are known to kill foxes to remove territorial competition. Individual coyotes may view domestic dogs in the same manner.

Additional advice for pet owners to take simple precautions

· Walk your dog on a leash. By ordinance, all dogs must be on a leash 6-feet long or less and under the owner’s direct control at all times. Small dogs may be viewed as potential prey while large dogs may be perceived by coyotes as a threat to themselves or their pups.

· Never leave dogs unattended in the yard and always keep them inside at night.

· Keep your yard well-illuminated when outdoors at night with your pet.

· Keep cats indoors.

Be mindful that coyotes are an important part of the natural habitat.

According to the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County’s website, coyotes “provide a significant service by maintaining ecological balance. Without coyotes as a control, populations of other species … would explode and start to negatively affect the area’s ecological balance.”

Links to more info

For more information about coyotes and other wildlife, visit the City of Naperville’s Animal Control online at: www.naperville.il.us/animalcontrol.aspx.

Additional information on coyotes can be through the University of Illinois Extension at web.extension.illinois.edu/wildlife and the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County at www.dupageforest.com.

Thanks to reader input, PN has been tracking coyotes, attending forums and reminding folks not to feed other wildlife for years. Let wildlife stay wild.


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