Coyotes & Foxes
Over the past several years, coyote and fox sightings have become more prevalent within the village and surrounding communities. Although you may be shocked to see a coyote running through the village it is not unusual.
Many wild animals, including the coyote and fox, adapt very well to urbanization and can cohabit with humans. Some people have expressed concern about these animals attacking children and pets. Attacks by coyotes on humans are extremely rare and attacks on humans by fox are non-existent. In fact, both animals are very skittish and tend to shy away from direct contact with humans.
While coyotes can pose a threat to domestic pets their diet consists of mostly small mammals including mice, rabbits, and squirrels but will also eat fruits and vegetables, especially in the fall. When letting your dog out at dusk or after dark, check the yard for any type of wild animal. Turn lights on and make some noise in order to scare off any possible wild animal that may be in the immediate area.
Feeding coyotes completely breaks down their natural fear of humans, and can cause them to become unusually aggressive. Food placed out for other wildlife such as birds and squirrels attracts coyotes who are seeking the small animals as a food source. Residents may wish to discontinue feeding wildlife to avoid attracting the coyotes. Coyotes are opportunistic, bringing in dog or cat food in the evening will also eliminate a potential food source.
Police Department Involvement
The question has also been asked as to why the police department will not capture and remove these animals. According to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, trying to reduce and control the coyote population will not work. The void created by a coyote's death or removal will be filled within three to four weeks. Coyotes are also intelligent animals and very difficult to catch in a live trap. Traps successfully used to capture coyotes are "snare" or "leg hold" traps which are dangerous to children as well as adults.
Best Left Alone
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources suggests that unless an animal has demonstrated aggressiveness toward a human or a domestic pet, the coyote should be left alone. In the event of aggressiveness, an Illinois Department of Natural Resources licensed trapper should be contacted to address the problem animal.
Parents should educate their children on how to identify and stay away from coyotes and other wildlife.