Have you seen any coyotes lurking around town recently? If so, you're among other Patch readers who've already sent in their spotting locations. Now, we're not telling you this to scare you. In fact, according to the Cook County Coyote Project, there hasn't been a documented case of a coyote attacking a human in Illinois since at least 1985—the beginning range of the study. On top of that, there have only been two cases of coyotes killing a human in the U.S. and Canada in modern history.
That said, residents are reporting interactions with local coyotes and we want to keep those numbers from getting any higher.
Coyotes typically come out at night. If you see a coyote during the day, that's indication the animal may be bolder and therefore more likely to attack. If you ever find yourself in this situation, the study recommends you yell, wave your arms and try to throw something at the coyote. Never run away!
Dan Thompson, ecologist at the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County said residents along rivers and the Prairie Path are at a slightly higher risk of seeing coyotes as they help wildlife travel.
However, he said, "coyotes are everywhere."
The wild animals are putting down roots in urban environments because humans have given them an "upper hand," Thompson said. "(We've) mand them less fearful of contact with humans... We need to make sure we make them feel uncomfortable if they're around."
While coyotes have been known to attack pets, the Cook County Coyote Project says coyotes do not frequently attack dogs, and when they do, they tend to be smaller dogs. Cats, on the other hand, may represent more alluring targets. Don't lose too much sleep over it, though. The vast majority of a coyote's diet is made up of mice and rats.
The city of Wheaton in 2010 adopted a coyote policy to change and adapt coyote behavior to different forms of human interaction. The Chicago area has seen a significant increase in the coyote population since the 1990s, and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources estimates there are more than 30,000 coyotes in Illinois, according to the city's website.
Trapping and removing coyotes is legal with a Nuisance Animal Removal Permit. "Research has shown that once coyotes are removed, others quickly replace them," according to the city's website.
Patch asked readers on its Facebook page to tell us where they've seen coyotes in Wheaton.
To report a coyote sighting in Wheaton, go to the City of Wheaton website.
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If you've spotted a coyote recently, let us know in the comments and we'll add the location to our map
Editor's note: Patch submitted a FOIA request for coyote sightings in Wheaton last week and another this week. We will update this map when we receive the results.
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