Patch reader Ed Berg sent these photos of a large coyote that he spotted in the vicinity of Oak Lawn Community High School on Sunday morning.
The coyote was seen frolicking around the high school campus around 9 a.m. before taking a stroll down 93rd Street. Ed’s sighting is one of dozens reported by Patch readers in the Oak Lawn-area.
Our readers shared some amazing stories when we posted Ed’s photos on our Facebook page. The Forest Preserve District of Cook County estimates the 2012 coyote population in the low thousands, which means they’re around.
We can’t stress enough to keep an eye on your pets, especially small dogs and cats.
Here are some coyote facts and myths from the Cook County Urban Coyote Research Project to help us cohabitate peacefully with these Ghosts of the Suburbs.
- Keep your pooch on a leash when walking in the forest preserves or other area frequented by coyotes. You may want to carry a big stick or mace to fend off an attack. Making a lot of noise scares them off too.
- You may also want to re-think letting your poodle tinkle unattended in your fenced yard. Coyotes have been known to jump over them. The best fences for keeping coyotes out are at least six feet tall and have a roll bar on top.
- Make sure no one in the neighborhood is attracting coyotes by leaving pet food outdoors and eliminate wildlife feeding. Food left outside may attract coyotes, which may then attack your cat or dog.
- You also don’t want to feed coyotes, either intentionally or accidentally. Coyotes that are fed in residential neighborhoods can lose their fear of people.
- 142 coyote attacks on humans have been reported in 14 United States, and two cases of coyotes killing humans (United States and Canada) in modern history. There are no documented cases of coyotes attacking humans in Illinois or the Chicago area.
- If you encounter a coyote don’t run. Be an alpha dog. Yell, wave your arms, throw something at it (your big walking stick) and howl if you wish. The coyote will leave you and/or your dog alone. I’ve done this. It works.
- If you see a coyote during the daytime, like Ed Berg’s sighting on Sunday morning, it may have become habituated to humans (and more be more likely to attack). Exercise caution when encountering a coyote or any wild animal. It’s not a big doggie.
The Cook County Urban Coyote Research Project is a great read and has a lot of information about urban coyotes. We also recommend the Forest Preserve District of Cook County’s “Coyote FAQ” page.
If you run into what you think might be considered a "nuisance" coyote, don't hesitate to call Cook County Animal Control at 708-974-6046. (Let us know how that works out for you.)