The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County is reminding residents that from now until early March, coyotes will be on the move for mating season.
Coyotes out looking for mates
During the deep winter, coyotes spend most of their time foraging for food and aren’t seen as often. Now, the animals are monitoring their territories and looking for mates.
“Coyote encounters can happen any time of year, but we tend to see an increase in encounters during the fall dispersal and now as we move into breeding and pup rearing, or denning, seasons,” said Forest Preserve District ecologist, Dan Thompson in a press release.
Generally encounters are harmless
In size, coyotes can be compared to a medium-sized dog breed, like a border collie. Thompson says generally, seeing a coyote is not cause for alarm.
“We can’t reiterate it enough that more often than not these encounters occur without incident, but that doesn’t mean pet owners should leave their dogs unleashed or unattended,” said Thompson.
Tips to minimize any issues
According to Thompson, occasionally coyotes may view certain dogs as competition or see a female dog as a possible mate.
Thompson advises the public to take note of a few tips to minimize any potential issues:
- Pet owners should keep their dog on a leash — even in a fenced backyard
- Do not leave pets unattended.
- Keep cats indoors.
- If you see a coyote at the same time and place more than once, change your routine, as coyotes are generally creatures of habit.
- If you have a small dog and encounter a coyote, pick up your pet.
- If a coyote gets too close for comfort, don’t run. Instead, make yourself look large, keep eye contact, and make loud noise.
Though a sighting may make some nervous, Thompson says coyotes are an important part of the ecological community. The animals have a big impact on the circle of life throughout DuPage County, as they hunt rodents and other small animals.
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