Increase In Coyote Sightings
Residents living close to some of the parks, trails, golf courses, and open space areas in Itascal have reported an increase in coyote sightings.

Coyotes readily adapt to our food and habitat rich environments. If you see a coyote, there is no need for alarm. Coyotes rarely attack humans.

Important Information
Important points to follow are:
  • Never feed a coyote, either intentionally or unintentionally by making available to the coyotes things they will eat. A coyote that associates humans with food may become demanding and aggressive.
A coyote in a natural wood area
Residents Near Park, Trail or Natural Area
If you live near or adjacent to a park, trail, golf course, or natural area:
  • It is a good idea to accompany small dogs outside even if you have a fenced yard. Always keep cats indoors
  • Coyotes are part of our natural ecosystem. If you live in Itasca you probably have these “wild” neighbors. They are highly adapted to our urban landscape, which means they may travel through your neighborhood in search of food
  • Learning how to actively “coexist” with coyotes helps us all to be more aware and knowledgeable. Active coexistence means that we should all be careful to remove food, water and shelter from our yards and to scare coyotes away from our homes. When you see a coyote near your home, you should yell at it and make a lot of noise to chase it away
What to Do If You Are Approached by a Coyote
If you are approached by a coyote:
  • Be as big and loud as possible; use arm gestures to exaggerate your size and voice
  • In a loud and forceful voice, command the coyote to go away
  • Always keep your pet on a leash; if you see a coyote, you should pick up your small dog and keep large pets on a short leash and close to you
  • Keep small children near you
  • Throw objects (not food) at the coyote
  • Slowly move towards place with people. Do not turn your back to the coyote. There is no need to run

The key to coexistence is to respect the wildness of the wild animals, and to teach the coyotes to be afraid of people. The goal is to keep humans and pets safe so that everyone can appreciate coyotes from a distance.

Coyote Facts
Coyotes have learned to thrive in many urban areas. They have the unique ability to survive and even thrive on whatever food is available. This adaptive trait allows them to adjust to human populated communities, thus interactions between humans and coyotes are sure to occur. If residents and neighborhoods do not take steps to deter or haze coyotes away from people, more and more coyotes will find adequate habit in the city, adapt to the presence of humans, and lose their fear of people. It is essential for people to understand why coyotes are drawn to the places where people live and to do what they can to remove the things that attract the coyotes to the areas around homes.

Coyotes are naturally curious but are usually timid animals and normally run, or trot, away if confronted. If a coyote is too close or approaches you, scare/haze it away. Most incidents involving coyotes and people have been related to situations where coyotes have been, or are being fed, by people. Not only does this remove the coyote’s natural fear of humans, it breaks down the physical barriers that keep us safe. This is a primary reason why it is not a good idea to feed wildlife.

Urban coyotes have learned to take advantage of the ample human-associated foods, such as garbage, pet food left outside, birdseed, compost piles, and unattended pets. It is our responsibility to remove all sources of food from our yards removing the reason that the coyotes are attracted to areas that are close to people. Although rare, there are documented human attacks by coyotes.

Coyote Breeding & Activity Facts

  • Coyotes range in color from near black to off-white. Colorado coyotes are usually rust colored with white or gray throat and belly
  • Like other predators, coyotes vary in size. The males are larger than the females. The average size of a coyote is 37 inches long and 18 inches high. Their weight varies from 20 to 50 pounds
  • Coyotes typically pair for life. If 1 dies, the other will look for another mate
  • Coyotes are most active at dawn and dusk, but can be active any time of the day or night
  • Breeding occurs between January and March. Increased sightings and interactions between humans, pets, and coyotes are more likely to occur during the breeding season
  • Coyote pups are born from April to mid-May. The litter size is determined by local population density and food availability. More pups are born when there are low coyote densities and when food sources are abundant
  • Because pups are born in the spring, food requirements of the nursing females and growing pups remain high until late summer. As people and their pets spend more time outdoors during this time, the possibility of a coyote encounter increases
  • Female coyotes prepare the dens. Male coyotes assist in raising the young and initially supply most of the food. Coyotes normally mate for life
  • The pups are born blind and hairless. They begin eating meat at 8 weeks of age and start hunting between 8 ti 12 weeks old. The pups may leave the family group between November and March. The family may hunt together temporarily in mid-winter
  • People should never approach coyote pups or attempt to take them from the area where the den is located. Even if you see pups unattended, their parents are usually just a short distance away and rarely abandon their young
Seasonal Coyote Behavior
General activity and seasonal behavior include the following:
  • January - February: Breeding Activity
  • February - April: Den Site Selection
  • April - May: Pups are born
  • May - August: Raising pups
  • October - December: Dispersal time when young adults may leave the family group to find their own territory
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Can't Itasca Just Capture & Relocate the Coyotes?
Itasca is not the only city that has interactions between people and coyotes. Relocating coyotes is not a simple task. It may be counterproductive to remove coyotes from a specific area because more coyotes will come to that area and fill the void that is created by removing coyotes.

Generations of coyotes have been born and raised in the cities and have adapted to urban life that has ample food, good shelter and areas with little harassment from people. The existence of adequate habitat dictates where coyotes reside.

Why Can't Itasca Remove Coyotes Using Lethal Control?
Controlling the coyote population using lethal control is a question that many people have raised. Killing coyotes in small or large numbers has proven to be ineffective. Eradication programs have been implemented in various areas and have proven to be very expensive and have ultimately failed. Even the best eradication efforts cannot remove all of the coyotes. Scientific research has shown that these attempts cause the remaining coyotes to breed more often and give birth to larger litters resulting in populations that quickly meet or exceed numbers previous to eradication efforts. The most effective method of controlling coyote populations is to actively coexist with them which provides a stable wildlife population.

Additional Information
For more information, please visit the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County website.