Coyote Watch

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Late fall is when young coyotes begin leaving their parents in search of their own territory. Don’t be surprised if you come across one of these creatures this season.

As the leaves fall and greenery becomes sparser, there are a lot fewer places for a coyote to hide.

But if you’d like to limit your interactions with these wild animals, make sure they know your yard isn’t a source of food.

The best thing you can do is to absolutely not feed them,” said Stephanie Touzalin, a naturalist at the Willowbrook Wildlife Center. “Even if you’re unintentionally having food left out, if it’s pet food or if you’re feeding other wildlife, you want to make sure it’s very clean and there’s not things left around for them. Anytime we hear about negative interactions between people and coyotes, it always has to do with food.”

However, if you do notice coyotes in your area, make sure to accompany your pets on walks and in the backyard as coyotes rarely attack humans.

There is a concern if you have a pet dog because coyotes will be naturally interested in other canines whether it’s as prey or as a potential competitor,” said Touzalin. “So they might investigate canines so you want to be careful about your dogs outside unattended.”

Though there are a lot of negative stereotypes associated with coyotes, they are an important part of the ecosystem, keeping many rodent populations in check.

The coyote “active” season ends in February when the animals begin breeding.

Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.