File photo of coyote
Updated: March 22, 2012 10:31PM
AURORA — The city issued a warning for residents Thursday — be on the lookout for coyotes.
City officials said they have received 25 calls from residents since the beginning of the year reporting coyote sightings in residential areas.
There has been a large increase in the coyote population in Illinois in the past two decades, especially in the Chicago area, city officials note.
In Aurora, reported coyote sightings so far this year are on track to exceed 2011 when Animal Control fielded 53 such calls, officials said. Sightings have been reported on the city’s far southeast side where homes are adjacent to rural or wooded areas, and on the West Side.
Animal Control officials said the increased sightings are not unusual at this time of year because the coyotes’ mating cycles result in younger animals leaving their family territories and venturing out on their own. Coyotes are mainly nocturnal animals but may be more visible during the daytime in spring and summer.
While most coyotes are leery of people and tend to stay clear of humans, they can still be a danger, especially to young children, Animal Control officials warn. It is not unusual for coyotes to attack dogs and other pets.
The most effective way to prevent attacks is to eliminate feeding coyotes either intentionally or accidentally. 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, officials said.
Anyone approached by a coyote should yell, wave their arms, or throw an object at the coyote — but should never run away.
Family pets like dogs and cats — especially small pets — should not be left unwatched while outside.
Residents who are attacked by a coyote, or who have a pet that is attacked, should contact Aurora Animal Control at 630-256-3630.