Pet owners may want to keep a closer eye on the family dog in the coming months as coyote sightings in Naperville may become even more common.
Earlier: Coyotes Spotted in Naperville: Where You've Seen Them
February through April is the typical period for coyote mating and nearby Wheaton recently issued a warning to residents to take precautions.
"Coyotes are opportunistic and will go for easy prey, such as an unattended pet," according to a release from the city of Wheaton.
Like dogs, coyotes will also test their limits around people and they learn something new from every encounter, according to the Naperville Park District. Without negative reinforcement, coyotes can become more aggressive.
The Naperville Park District offers these tips when encountering coyotes:
- Exhibit caution, but be confident and bold. Make loud noises and make yourself look larger by raising your hands above your head or flaring clothing; this type of reaction may help to re-instill a fear of humans.
- Do not be submissive, turn your back, or run.
- If a coyote follows you it’s likely you are walking through its territory and it is merely escorting or “shadowing” you to make sure you are not a threat.
- Although unlikely, if you encounter aggressive behavior, throw clods of earth or sticks near the ground by the coyote first, and then, if necessary, toward its body – never at its head.
Pet owners need to be wary. Coyotes are territorial and their survival instincts are strong. They are known to kill foxes to remove competition, and individual coyotes may view a dog in a similar manner.
Pet owners should consider taking the following precautions:
- Walk dogs on a leash. City ordinance requires that all dogs be on a leash 6-feet long or less and under the owner’s direct control at all times. Small dogs may be viewed as potential prey while large dogs may be perceived by coyotes as a threat to themselves or their pups.
- Never leave dogs unattended in the yard and always keep them inside at night.
- Keep your yard well-illuminated when outdoors at night with your pet.
- Keep cats indoors.
The city of Naperville’s Animal Control suggests the following steps residents and homeowners should consider to protect themselves and their pets:
- Do not encourage coyotes by feeding them; coyotes that are fed can lose their fear of people.
- Keep pet food and water dishes inside.
- Keep grills and barbecues clean.
- If possible, do not keep garbage cans outside.
- Clear all bushes and dense weeds near the home where coyotes might go for cover.
Coyotes are a natural part of the area’s natural habitat and help maintain a necessary balance, without coyotes some animal populations might explode and negatively affect the ecological balance, according to the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County.
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