Coyote sightings in West Chicago have caused concern among some members of the community prompting the City of West Chicago to provide an information source intended to educate the public.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is a good place to start. Information contained on their website, www.dnr.state.il.us, may help allay panic should one see a coyote in their neighborhood. The animal, resembling a small German shepherd dog, carries its tail below the level of its back, rather than curved upward. Its upper body is typically light gray to dull yellow, but can vary from mostly black to nearly all gray or white. A more specific description may be found on the IDNR website.
According to the IDNR, coyotes are common throughout Illinois where they are abundant in areas with a mixture of farmland, woodland and grassland, however, they are also known to inhabit suburban and even urban areas. While they are valuable members of the wildlife community, caution should be exercised in a suburban setting with regard to pets such as domestic cats and small dogs. Do not leave small pets outside unattended. Reported attacks on humans appear to be rare.
Because coyotes are predators and will be attracted to areas that encourage small animals and birds, one way to deter them from entering residential backyards is to keep the ground clear of pet food or wild animal feed.
An informational video, "The Urban Coyote," may be viewed at http://www.westchicago.org/Video/index2.html.
For further information, contact the Illinois Department of Natural Resources at (217) 782-6302 or www.dnr.state.il.us using the search word coyote.