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Coyotes

Report a Coyote Sighting

coyoteThe Village's Public Works Departments tracks coyote sightings to determine where it might need to educate residents or conduct additional deterrence practices. 

Use this FORM to report a coyote in the Downers Grove area. 

About Coyotes

Coyotes are a common wild animal in northern Illinois. Usually they reside in wooded areas; however, they occasionally enter residential neighborhoods. The natural behavior of a coyote is to avoid contact with people, however, they can be attracted by the abundant parks and wooded areas in the Village.

Coyotes, which are part of the dog family, have pointed ears, yellow eyes, a slender muzzle and a drooping bushy tail with a black tip. They are usually a grayish brown with reddish-colored fur behind the ears and around the face. A study by the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County’s Willowbrook Wildlife Center reports that coyotes in DuPage County average about 25 pounds, though their heavy coats may make them look larger.

Typical coyote behavior

  • Coyotes live in prairies, brushy areas and wooded edges, but not in heavily wooded areas. They often live or travel along waterways.
  • While many coyotes live in packs, they usually travel and hunt alone. If you see a coyote, it will usually be alone.
  • Coyotes are nocturnal animals, but they may be visible during the day, especially in the summer.
  • Coyotes typically mate in February or early spring. During mating season, coyotes – especially males – may be more visible. 
  • A coyote’s diet mainly consists of small rodents, deer, rabbits and fruit. However, they will take advantage of the most available prey. They can be attracted to garbage and pet food. Coyotes can also be attracted to birdfeeders because the birdfeeders attract rodents and squirrels.

Do coyotes attack?

Coyote attacks on humans are extremely rare and have only been reported in western states. They may attack small dometic pets when they are seen as easy prey. Dogs are usually attacked when they are not accompanied by people. Attacks on larger dogs mainly occur during mating season, which usually occurs in February through April.

Signs that coyotes are present in the area

  • Coyotes may or may not howl, bark or whine.
  • Their paw prints are very similar to dog prints, but the prints usually only have two claw marks in the front of the print.
  • Coyote scats (feces) are rope-like and typically filled with hair and bones. Coyotes often leave them along trails as a means of communication.

If you encounter a coyote

Some coyotes lose their fear of humans and no longer avoid their presence. For example, a coyote may not leave a park or path when a human approaches.

The best tactic is to act aggressively toward the coyote to re-establish its fear of humans. Use the following techniques consistently and the coyotes will learn they are not welcome. It is important to be persistent. The goal is to make the coyote leave the area, so it is most effective if you continue the techniques until the coyote leaves.

  • Make eye contact and yell at the coyote(s)
  • Wave your arms and make yourself appear as large as possible
  • Use a noisemaker or a whistle
  • Throw objects toward the coyote
  • Stomp your feet
  • Clap your hands
  • Act threatening
  • Spray a hose toward the coyote(s)

Anyone can call 9-1-1 if they observe any wild animal behaving in a threatening manner. Police officers will respond. Or, contact the Willowbrook Wildlife Center’s 24-hour automated phone line for advice at 630-942-6200.

How to Deter Coyotes

Coyotes can become a nuisance when they have easy access to food in residential areas, such as pet food or garbage. To discourage their presence:

  • DO NOT leave your pet's food outdoors.
  • DO NOT leave domestic pet food or water outside for wildlife to eat. They will soon depend on it and become a nuisance. Chapter 13.7 of the Municipal Code defines nuisances that may be subject to fines. 
  • Clear brush and dense weeds from around property. This deprives rodents of shelter and reduces protective cover for coyotes.
  • Use trash barrels equipped with tight clamping devices on the lids, which will prevent spills should they be tipped over by large animals.
  • Try to educate your friends and neighbors about the problems associated with feeding coyotes. If you belong to a homeowner’s association or neighborhood watch, bring up the subject during one of the meetings.

How to Protect Pets

  • Keep an eye on small domestic pets when outside and always keep your pet on a leash when walking them, per the Village's leash ordinance. 
  • If you leave your pet outside in a fenced area, consider a four-foot fence with a roll bar on the top of the fence. An example of a roll bar can be found HERE. 
  • Dogs should be brought inside after dark and never allowed to run loose. This is especially important during mating season, which is February through April.

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