WITH THE COMING OF SPRING
WE WILL BE SEEING THE BABIES
Your teacher taught you that animals in the wild usually give birth in spring and we are almost in May. We haven’t heard of any litter sightings but the pups may still be in the dens.
Coyotes are monogamous. The female stays with the litter, the male hunts and brings back the food. Coyotes have been sighted on the Loyola campus and in Berger Park. The coyotes are getting bolder and we are being told by the experts that it is because people are feeding them. Therefore they are learning to equate humans with food.
Sheridan Road resident Charleen Propson is the leader of Friends of Animal Control. Recently she received information about living with coyotes while attending an Animal Care and Control Commission meeting. The information below is from the Flint Creek Wildlife Rehab about coyotes.
“Coyotes are normally much more afraid of humans that we are of them. Even in the most urban areas of Chicago, coyotes live peacefully among us and usually without our knowledge. Perhaps we catch sight of a coyote running through our yard and then start worrying about is presence even though it’s lived there for years without any problem.
Coyotes in the Chicago area typically weigh no more than 35-40 pounds. They eat berries, small mammals such as mice and cottontails, and they even help control rat populations in the city.
There are some basic things you can do to ensure that you and your
neighborhood coyotes live together without conflict. First and most importantly, never feed coyotes. If you feed a cat or
dog outside, remove all food and clean up spilled food before dark. Secure all garbage cans to prevent unintentional feeding. Second, practice responsible pet ownership. Don’t let pets outside unattended–especially at night. Don’t use retractable leashes that allow your dog to wander a long distance from you during walks. As an extra precaution,
pick up your small dog if you see a coyote nearby.
Third, don’t approach coyote pups or a coyote den. Coyotes may defend their young if threatened.
If you are approached by a coyote, it’s likely that the coyote has become habituated due to direct or indirect feeding by humans. Face the coyote and be big and loud! Blow a whistle, shout, and make noise. Do not run.
Should coyotes be trapped and relocated to a more rural setting or someone else’s neighborhood? The answer is no. Coyotes are protected by Illinois state law and, as such, it is illelgal for members of the public to harm, trap or kill coyotes. Further, coyotes can adjust litter size based on available food supply and population density with only the alpha male and female of a pack typically mating each year. If a coyote is removed, lower coyote population density may increase the number of pups being born and other coyotes will also quickly move into its place. Additionally, relocated coyotes often try to return to their home territories and are usually killed in the process. As a result, removing coyotes via lethal or non-lethal methods is not considered to be an effective population management technique.
Coyotes’ threat to humans is surprisingly low. A study that examined documented coyote attacks from 1985-2006 found no attacks on humans in Illinois. The study also determined that coyote attacks in other parts of the country and Canada were largely related to humans directly or indirectly feeding coyotes. The study contrasts the rarity of these documented coyote attacks with the frequency of dog bites. Cook County, for example, never had a coyote bite but had 3,043 cases of dogs biting humans in 2005 alone. Additionally, there was not a single documented case of rabies in a coyote in Illinois between 1990 – 2012, the years for which data is currently available.
So, although coyotes are often feared and misunderstood, practical methods of avoiding human-coyote conflicts are considered preferable to removal. Learn to live with your wild coyote neighbors, never feed them or encourage them to approach humans and remember that coyotes serve an important role in controlling prey populations.”