Coyotes are among the smartest and most adaptable of mammals, and sightings of them are not uncommon in Prospect Heights. They may be particularly active and visible during their mating season-January thru March, or when they are preparing for the winter months. Within urbanized areas, they are the top of the food chain, without natural enemies other than man. Instinctively, they carve out territories, which happen to be our neighborhoods.
Occasionally, this overlap can result in conflict, particularly when coyotes view domestic pets as food, or when they become habituated to humans. While there is generally ample prey in our suburban environment (rodents, waterfowl eggs, etc.), coyotes can be attracted to unsecured garbage and pet or wildlife feeding stations.
To avoid potential conflicts with coyotes, the following is offered:
• Never provide a food source for wild animals; the food will attract coyotes.
• Keep unattended cats and dogs indoors or in completely enclosed runs, especially at night, and do not assume that a fence will keep a coyote out of your backyard.
• Accompany your leashed pet outside. Make sure you turn on lights if it is dark to check your yard for unexpected wildlife.
• Keep dogs on short leashes, no longer than 6 feet, while walking outside.
• Keep noisemakers, whistles and horns, available to scare coyotes that may enter your yard.
• Don’t run away or turn your back on a coyote.
• Do not allow a coyote to get between you and your pet or child.
• Yell, clap hands, blow a whistle and make yourself look larger if you have a close encounter with a coyote.
Questions about coyotes can be directed to Cook County’s Department of Animal and Rabies Control at (708) 974-6140 or online at www.cookcountyil.gov/agency/animal-and-rabies-control or Cook County Animal Services at (708) 974-6140.
Actions which limit habituation of coyotes to humans will serve both species well