View Plainfield coyote sightings in a larger map
Have you seen any coyotes lurking around town recently? If so, you're among other Patch readers who've already sent in their spotting locations. Now, we're not telling you this to scare you.
In fact, according to the Cook County Coyote Project, there hasn't been a documented case of a coyote attacking a human in Illinois since at least 1985—the beginning range of the study. On top of that, there have only been two cases of coyotes killing a human in the U.S. and Canada in modern history.
That said, residents are reporting interactions with local coyotes and we want to keep those numbers from getting any higher.
Coyotes typically come out at night. If you see a coyote during the day, that's an indication the animal may be bolder and therefore more likely to attack. If you ever find yourself in this situation, the study recommends you yell, wave your arms and try to throw something at the coyote. Never run away!
While coyotes have been known to attack pets, the Cook County Coyote Project says coyotes do not frequently attack dogs, and when they do, they tend to be smaller dogs. Cats, on the other hand, may represent more alluring targets. Don't lose too much sleep over it, though. The vast majority of a coyote's diet is made up of mice and rats.
The Chicago area has seen a significant increase in the coyote population since the 1990s, and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources estimates there are more than 30,000 coyotes in Illinois.
Cmdr. Ken Ruggles said while Plainfield police have an agreement with Will County Animal Control, local police are the first responders for residents who believe they are having a problem with coyotes.
"If someonebody calls in a complaint, we send somebody out and we check out it," Ruggles said.
Police only take action if the animal appears to be sick or injured.
"If there's no indication of injury or illness, we let them go on their way," Ruggles said. "We don't have the authority to detain, capture or euthanize."
His advice for residents? Give the animals their space.
"If it doesn't appear to be injured or ill, give it a wide berth," he said. "They will go about their business," Ruggles added, saying coyotes will typically avoid people.
He advised residents to keep an eye on small pets while outdoors.
Those who believe they have a problem with coyotes can contact Plainfield police at 815-436-2341.
The University of Illinois Extension offers the following tips for living with coyotes — and dealing with any problems that may occur:
- To help protect small children and pets, all possible food for coyotes should be removed from around the homes in your neighborhood.
- Coyotes are always on the lookout for food. Coyotes are looking for the mice, rabbits and birds that bird feeders and pet food left outside attracts. If you do not want the coyotes near your home, stop feeding other wildlife and leaving pet food outside. Make sure ripe fruit is picked and garbage is secured in containers.
- Keep a close eye on small children and pets whenever they are outside and a coyote is in your neighborhood. Consider using a dog run or fence to protect small pets.
- From a distance, try to scare the coyote away by being loud and throwing something or spraying water towards the coyote.
- Alert your neighborhood and the local municipality as soon as a problem develops with a coyote.
- Coyotes are a permanent fixture in Illinois’ rural, suburban and urban areas. Seeing a coyote(s) cross a field, backyard, golf course, road, etc. does not necessarily constitute a problem or a dangerous situation for humans or domestic animals. Target the responsible coyote(s) when a pattern of "undesirable” behavior develops. Usually it will be easier to change human and domestic animal use of an area than to capture a coyote.
- Coyote population reduction (removing some or all of the coyotes in an area) is usually unrealistic and always temporary. Removal of coyotes requires time, effort and funding. If removal of a coyote is deemed necessary, hire a person with coyote removal experience who is licensed by the IDNR. Coyote removals approved by the IDNR usually involve the useof cage (live) traps or padded foot-hold traps.
If you've spotted a coyote in Plainfield recently, let us know in the comments and we'll add the location to our map
Editor's note: Homewood-Flossmoor Patch Editor Ryan Fitzpatrick contributed to this report.
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