Coyote Concerned Citizens

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A local DeKalb resident contacted DeKalb County Online asking if there have been any reports of coyotes causing problems in the area. Coyotes have been seen locally along areas of the Kishwaukee River, NIU’s north 40, adjacent farmland and near the DeKalb Park District land.

“I was walking my dog along the pathway between the Kishwaukee River and Tilton Park and saw two coyotes that started following me”, said local businessman Matt Bromeland. “I yelled at them and even threw a stick hoping to get them to move away, but they just continued to follow me and my dog. Not sure if it was me or the dog they may have thought about as a meal.”

“We have had reports of coyotes in the park, but have not had any problems with these animals”, commented Amy Doll, DeKalb Park District Director. 

On south Fairmont Drive in DeKalb a coyote was seen going after a domestic cat that was quick enough to retreat up a tree.

The coyote resembles a small German shepherd dog, but carries its tail below the level of the 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. Coyotes have coarse outer hairs that are usually tipped with black. The underparts are whitish, cream-colored or pinkish yellow. A coyote’s muzzle is long and narrow; its ears are erect and pointed. The average length of an adult is 44 to 54 inches, including a 15- to 17-inch tail. Weights measured during fall and winter vary from 22 to 42 pounds.

Coyotes took over the role of the largest predators in Illinois after wolves and cougars were eliminated from the state during the 1860s. Coyotes hunt mice, voles, rabbits, deer fawns and other prey, but they supplement their diet with insects, plants, fruits and berries when these items are seasonally available.

Coyotes exist in nearly all types of habitat, including urban and suburban areas. They are most abundant in areas with a mixture of farmland, woodland, and grassland. An average home range encompasses 2-10 square miles. Members of packs tend to have smaller home ranges than “loners”.  Sizes of home ranges are also influenced by the quality of habitat a coyote lives in, presence of nearby packs and seasons of the year – especially when coyotes are breeding or rearing pups.

With the winter season upon us, the natural food supplies become more of a challenge for coyotes. They have been known to go after smaller dogs and cats as an easier meal choice. They are not a threat to humans unless being challenged in their natural habitat and birthing areas.

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