|Blo-No sees increase of coyote sightings|
|Written by Jennifer Novoseletsky, Senior Staff|
|Thursday, 14 February 2013 13:38|
Most Bloomington-Normal residents have been seeing coyotes more recently because it is mating season, Darryl Coates, district wildlife biologist at the Department of Natural Resources, said.
“Animals will only consume what they will get out of a meal,” Coates said. “If they have to spend 600 calories to fight and sequester an animal, they won’t eat it. They would rather walk around a bit rather than jump over it.”
Coyote populations have grown over the past 30 years and the estimated population is in the 30,000 range, which over 30 years is not significantly large. It is most likely due to the improvement in the cleanliness of the environment, Coates said.
“They do have family groups so it is not unusual to see a pack of three or four and it’s not unusual to see them on their own, but they are pact-mentality animals,” DeEtte Gorrie, shelter manager at the Humane Society of Central Illinois, said. “If you see one, there [are] most likely others.”
An average coyote is about the size of a medium-sized house dog with a lot of fur, weighing between 20 to 40 pounds, Coates explained.
If a coyote in the area is seen, avoid trapping it, removing it or cornering it, Coates added. These animals should only be reported for any damage they cause, such as stalking a cat or digging holes in yards or around houses.
People need to be careful with small domestic pets, Gorrie and Coates explained. If house pets are left unattended or their food is outside in the evenings, coyotes may generally come find the pets or the food because the pets are small and easy to hunt.
If pets are mostly out during daylight hours and food is brought in by dusk, there should be no problem, Coates added.
Coyotes are Illinois’ natural wildlife and humans have been building onto land where the coyotes have already been living.
“So these are not animals that would want to go inside with us,” Gorrie said. “They would prefer to be wild on their own and reclusive. But we are expanding into their territories, which force them into our yards, neighborhoods or our properties.”
Gorrie and Coates said to learn about the animals and to be familiar with what they might be thinking or the types of tracks they may have. Avoiding them is the best solution.
For information, such as learning to identify tracks or anything else coyotes or other wildlife leave behind or to report any type of damage, visit web.extension.illinois.edu/wildlife.