A coyote roams the ground of a cemetery in Naperville last July. Coyote sightings are on the rise throughout the Chicago area. | Sun-Times Media file
Updated: December 5, 2012 6:25AM
AURORA — The city has received almost four times as many calls about coyote sightings so far this year as it did in all of last year.
So far in 2012, Aurora Animal Control has received 150 calls for coyote sightings compared to 40 in 2011, city officials said this week.
Although many of the sightings have been in areas near wooded or rural locations, calls have been placed from neighborhoods citywide.
Aurora Animal Control said coyotes may be spotted even more often in neighborhoods at this time of year. The coyotes’ mating cycles result in younger animals leaving their family territories and venturing out on their own, and they are also on the hunt for more food as they get ready for winter.
Although coyotes are a common wild animal in Illinois, their population has experienced a large increase over the past two decades, especially in the Chicago area.
Animal Control advises people to follow some simple safety rules to avoid problems with coyotes:
Coyotes can be attracted to bird and squirrel feeders, bread that is fed to ducks and geese, pet food that is left outside, and other unintentional food sources. When coyotes find these types of food in residential areas, they may lose their fear of humans and eventually test both people and pets as possible prey.
If a coyote is spotted during the daytime, people should be cautious because the animal may have become used to humans and thus more likely to attack. People approached by a coyote should yell, wave their arms, or throw something at the animal – but should never run away.
Young children should not be left unattended in areas where coyotes may live. And family pets such as dogs and cats – especially small pets – not be left unwatched while outside.
Coyotes are attracted to cluttered areas including brush piles and old construction sites, so keeping those types of areas clear will help prevent them from lingering in a particular area.
The removal of nuisance wildlife from private property is the homeowner’s responsibility, city officials said, and is best left to professional contractors. Contractors with proper state permits can be found online at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website: www.dnr.illinois.gov.
Anyone spotting a coyote is asked to report it immediately to Aurora Animal Control at 630-256-3630, 24 hours a day.