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Over the past several years, coyote sightings have become more prevalent within the village and surrounding communities. Although you may be shocked to see a coyote running through the Park Forest, it is not unusual. Due to the rapid habitat loss by development, many coyotes have found themselves forced to cohabit with humans.
Coyotes usually reside in brushy areas, wooded edges, and open grasses. They are not found in heavily wooded areas, as many people believe.
Coyotes tend to travel along trails, paths, and waterways. They are most active at night but are often seen during the day, especially in the summer when their pups are more active. Coyotes sometimes hunt in family units but are usually alone or in male/female pairs. They do not form “packs” like their wolf cousins.
The diet of coyotes consists primarily of small mammals, including mice, rabbits, and moles, but they will also eat fruits and vegetables, especially in the fall. Coyotes rarely kill prey larger than themselves.
Statistics from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources call attacks on humans extremely rare, with only 16 documented cases in North America in the last 30 or so years. Most of these cases occurred when people tried to hand feed the animals.
Residents need to keep their dogs on leashes, supervise them outdoors at dusk and after dark, and keep their cats indoors.
Following these simple precautions will reduce the risk of a coyote or other wild animal preying on your pets.