Have you seen any coyotes lurking around town recently?
Patch reader Sara Hunt Edwards reported on our Facebook page that she saw a coyote Thursday morning in Waiola Park. And she's not the only person to report a sighting in recent weeks.
Now, we're not telling you this to scare you. In fact, according to the Cook County Coyote Project, there hasn't been a documented case of a coyote attacking a human in Illinois since at least 1985—the beginning range of the study. On top of that, there have only been two cases of coyotes killing a human in the U.S. and Canada in modern history.
That said, residents are reporting interactions with local coyotes and we want to keep those numbers from getting any higher.
Coyotes typically come out at night. If you see a coyote during the day, that's indication the animal may be bolder and therefore more likely to attack. If you ever find yourself in this situation, the study recommends you yell, wave your arms and try to throw something at the coyote. Never run away!
Dan Thompson, ecologist at the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County said residents along rivers and the Prairie Path are at a slightly higher risk of seeing coyotes as they help wildlife travel.
However, he said, "coyotes are everywhere."
The wild animals are putting down roots in urban environments because humans have given them an "upper hand," Thompson said. "(We've) made them less fearful of contact with humans... We need to make sure we make them feel uncomfortable if they're around."
While coyotes have been known to attack pets, the Cook County Coyote Project says coyotes do not frequently attack dogs, and when they do, they tend to be smaller dogs. Cats, on the other hand, may represent more alluring targets. Don't lose too much sleep over it, though. The vast majority of a coyote's diet is made up of mice and rats.
Patch asked readers on its Facebook page to tell us where they've seen coyotes in Downers Grove. Readers reported sightings everywhere from local parks to neighborhood corners.
We've marked the recent sightings on a map. Tell us where you've seen a coyote in recent weeks, and we'll add the spot to the list.
Lauren Williamson contributed to this report.