James Volpe, Chief
Police Department
900 W. Liberty Drive,  
Hours: 24 Hours
Phone: 630-260-2161

Emails are monitored Monday through Friday during normal business hours and should not be considered as an emergency contact for the police

About Coyotes

coyote2What do coyotes look like?

Coyotes, which are part of the dog family, have pointed ears, yellow eyes, a slender muzzle and a drooping bushy tail with a black tip. They are usually a grayish brown with reddish-colored fur behind the ears and around the face. A study by the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County’s Willowbrook Wildlife Center reports that coyotes in DuPage County average about 25 pounds, though their heavy coats may make them look larger.

What to do if you encounter a coyote

  • If you encounter a coyote, shout, clap or throw something in its direction. Acting aggressively helps re-instill a fear of humans in coyotes.
  • Anyone can call 9-1-1 if they observe any wild animal behaving in a threatening manner. Police officers will respond.
  • Or, contact the Willowbrook Wildlife Center’s 24-hour automated phone line for advice at 630-942-6200.

Typical coyote behavior

  • Coyotes live in prairies, brushy areas and wooded edges but not in heavily wooded areas. They often live or travel along waterways.
  • While many coyotes live in packs, they usually travel and hunt alone. If you see a coyote, it will usually be alone.
  • Coyotes are nocturnal animals, but they may be visible during the day, especially in the summer.
  • Coyotes typically mate in February or early spring. During mating season, coyotes – especially males – may be more visible. It is especially important to keep pets on a leash during this time.

Coyotes’ diet

A coyote’s diet mainly consists of small rodents, deer, rabbits and fruit. However, they will take advantage of the most available prey. They can be attracted to garbage and pet food. Coyotes can also be attracted to birdfeeders because the birdfeeders attract rodents and squirrels.

Still, a comprehensive Cook County study called “Urban Coyote Ecology and Management: The Cook County, Illinois, Coyote Project,” found that only about 2 percent of a coyote’s diet is made up of human-associated food, and domestic cats made up only about 1 percent of a coyote’s diet.

Why coyotes attack

Coyotes may attack outdoor domestic cats for food or because they are viewed as a competing predator. It is less common for coyotes to attack small dogs or medium- to large-sized dogs. Dogs are usually attacked when they are not accompanied by people. Attacks on larger dogs mainly occur during mating season, which usually occurs in February through April.

Coyote attacks on people are extremely rare. According to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, there have only been 16 reported attacks on humans nationwide in the past 30 years, none of which were in DuPage County.

What are some signs that coyotes are present in my area?

  • Coyotes may or may not howl, bark or whine.
  • Their paw prints are very similar to dog prints, but the prints usually only have two claw marks in the front of the print.
  • Coyote scats (feces) are rope-like and typically filled with hair and bones. Coyotes often leave them along trails as a means of communication.

Photo by George Gentry/U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service