Coyotes in the Windy City

coyoteThey have probably found a solution for bats such as chicago bat control. However; for years now Chicago has been dealing with a problem that is foreign to most residents of large cities, coyotes. Cousin of man’s best friend is certainly no friend to the people of Chicago. The coyote can thrive in almost any part of the United States, and they have been. National Geographic reports that coyotes are more abundant across the United States than ever before, but the city of Chicago has arguably taken the worst of the recent migration of coyote population.

Despite what seems to be an invasion not all Chicago residents are worried about the increase in coyote activity in their city. Some residents claim that the coyotes are less of a problem than other people claim. Unlike most coyotes the ones in Chicago have adopted a nocturnal sleeping pattern, making their rounds while the residents of Chicago sleep. It is a rare occasion for one of these dogs to even be spotted by a human during the day time. Most coyotes make an effort to avoid people and their dens are extremely hard to locate. Twenty years ago no one could have imagined such a widespread issue of coyotes taking up residence inside urban communities. Some experts believe that the cause of this sudden change in behavior is due to previous generations of coyotes having no choice but to reside inside city limits. With a wide range of options for food the coyotes may believe it easier to live in a city, while avoiding human contact as much as possible. Stan Gehrt, an Ohio State University professor, a coyote research specialist claims “They’re all homegrown coyotes” meaning that most of the current coyotes in Chicago were born there from parents who had migrated to the area for ease of access to food and shelter.

Although human deaths by coyote is extremely rare, with only two fatal attacks confirmed by experts, the majority of the citizens of Chicago are worried for themselves and their loved one’s well being. The best advice a homeowner can have is to not feed them, keep their trashcans covered an inaccessible and make them look elsewhere for their food.

baby coyoteStan Gehrt and his colleagues are currently studying whether aggressive or shy coyotes have a higher survival rate within city limits. The idea behind the study is to determine whether natural selection plays a role in the survival of these animals within city limits where hunting instincts are not as pivotal in survival, and scavenging is the leading factor in finding nourishment. Natural predators of the coyote such as bears do not typically exist inside city limits, whereas the number one cause of death of coyotes in Chicago has been car’s, suggesting that the shyer and less curious the coyote the higher the chance of survival will be.