Communities throughout the Chicagoland area, including the Village of Westmont, have seen an increase in the coyote population. Like most municipalities, the Village of Westmont does not trap or capture coyotes or other wildlife. The decision to capture a coyote on private property is the responsibility of the resident and must be completed using a licensed trapper. Licensed trappers are listed with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The following is a link to licensed operators in DuPage County:
As in any other town, Westmont has many different kinds of wildlife, and this includes coyotes. They are essentially docile animals, and it is not uncommon to see them out and about during the day or night. The best we can do is educate ourselves and learn about them. They are looking for food and trying to survive as many animals are. While it is important to be alert regarding coyotes, especially with small pets around and in yards, there is no need to be alarmed if you do see them. Below are some basic guidelines you can follow to put your mind at ease regarding coyotes.
Listed below are some tips for dealing with coyotes if seen in your neighborhood:
Coyotes are considered to be nocturnal but it is normal for them to be active during the day as well. If you encounter a coyote, be confident and bold. Make loud noises and make yourself look larger by raising your hands above your head. Do not be submissive, turn your back or run. Coyotes prefer to be as far from humans as possible, but the loss of their habitat have left them with very few choices. Attacks on humans are rare and there has not been a documented case of a coyote biting a human in DuPage County. Many coyote attacks against dogs are initiated by the dog and not the coyote. Always walk your dog on a leash.Never leave your dogs unattended in your yard and always try to keep them inside at night. Keep your yard well illuminated when outdoors at night. Keep grills and barbecues clean, as well as compost bins and areas around fruit trees and gardens.Have a bright flashlight with you when walking your dog at night. Keep cats indoors.Coyotes can be creatures of habit. If you encounter one at the same place and time while walking your pet, change your route or the time that you take that walk. If you know the location of the “den”, keep animals and children away from that area. Never remove the coyote’s young from the den. If you are followed by a coyote, you are likely walking through its territory and it is merely escorting or “shadowing” you to make sure you are not a threat.Don’t use poisons as they are inhumane, may be illegal, and can contaminate the water supply.Removing the coyote is illegal without the proper permits and only creates space for another animal.
Preventing ProblemsCoyotes avoid people when they can, but loss of habitat makes it difficult. You can prevent problems in your yard, though, by removing two main attractants: food and shelter.Never feed coyotes.Keep pet food and water dishes inside.Keep grills and barbecues clean.If possible, keep garbage cans inside.Use sealed compost bins, and never add pet waste, meat, milk or eggs.Keep the ground below bird feeders and fruit trees clean.Protect vegetables with heavy-duty fences.Use welded wire to block access to areas under decks, sheds, patios and porches.Clear overgrown bushes and dense weeds.Use deterrents such as sirens or motion- activated lights or sprinkler systems.Install a 6-foot chain-link fence, and bury an extra 6 inches underground. Install rollers at the top so coyotes can’t pull themselves over.Encourage neighbors to follow these steps.
Coyotes and PetsSurvival for coyotes is difficult, and some may instinctively see domestic dogs, their close canine cousins, as competitors or threats. This can be especially true if a dog is small (smaller dogs tend to be more aggressive toward larger canines) or if a dog’s yard falls within a coyote’s territory. In some cases, a coyote may try to eliminate a perceived threat or take a smaller dog as prey.There have been reports of coyotes chasing or attacking dogs during the day, even dogs on leashes, but these confrontations are uncommon and are often initiated by the dog and not the coyote. Still, it’s wise to take a few precautions.Always supervise your dog and keep it on a leash - even in a fenced backyard.Always keep cats indoors.Coyotes can be creatures of habit, so if you see one at the same time and place while walking your pet, change your route or timing.If you have a small dog and encounter a coyote, pick up your pet.
Coyote EncountersLike domestic dogs, coyotes test their limits around humans and learn something from each exchange. Unless they associate people with negative experiences, such as loud noises, they can become comfortable walking down streets or sidewalks or near schools, basking in yards or parks, and shortening the distance between themselves and humans. A bold coyote does not necessarily mean an aggressive coyote, but a coyote that maintains its fear of humans will be less likely to cause problems.If you’re on a trail that coyotes often use, carry an air horn, whistle, walking stick, cane or other deterrent.If you’re followed by a coyote, don’t panic. It’s likely escorting or “shadowing” you through its territory, keeping a calm eye on you to ensure you don’t bother its den.If a coyote approaches you, be big, loud and bold. Wave your hands above your head, or hold your jacket wide open. Shout or use a whistle or horn. Don’t turn your back or run; calmly walk away facing the coyote.Keep yourself between coyotes and children.If a coyote becomes aggressive — snaps, growls or snarls — throw sticks or clumps of dirt at the ground by its feet. Aim for its body if necessary but never its head.
Feel free to contact Community Service Officer Rosanne Terry 630-981-6378 with any questions or concerns, or reach out to Willowbrook Wildlife, Dupage County Animal Control or IDNR (Illinois Department of Natural Resource) to answer any common questions regarding wildlife. http://web.extension.illinois.edu/wildlife/directory_show.cfm?species=coyoteor http://www.dupageforest.org/Category.pb.aspx?pageid=0&id=9273&terms=Coyote