Coyote calls received by our office have steadily increased over the years. Coyotes are very adaptable animals and often live in close quarters with humans. Because they are so adaptable, they have expanded their range from the Great Plains of North America to the Arctic and south to Central America. Coyotes are found throughout Illinois.
Illinois coyotes often appear gray in color with red mixed in. The tail usually has a black tip. The average Illinois coyote weighs anywhere from 30 to 45 pounds with the males weighing more than females. Coyotes often interbreed with domestic dogs. These animals, to the untrained eye, may appear to be a coyote but are often much larger in size, the color is often unusual and they appear different.
Coyote breed between January and March and the female comes into "heat" only once a year. Gestation usually lasts 63 days and litters are born in April and May. The average litter size is 6 pups, the young are born blind and helpless and are usually weaned at 5-7 weeks. At nine months they have reached adult size. Both male and female coyotes help feed the young. Coyote dens are often constructed by enlarging other animal burrows (badgers and woodchucks).
Coyotes do not compete well with larger carnivores and do not tolerate foxes. Because of this reason we often see foxes living within the city limits while the coyotes live and control the rural areas outside of a city or village.
Coyotes are primarily nocturnal and may be seen during daylight hours (especially during the winter months while searching for food). Their home range can very wildly depending on available food sources and available water. They can often be seen as a solitary individual, a mated pair or as a small pack of often related individuals. When in a pack they will work together to assist one another in capturing prey. Our staff has been told numerous times of coyotes working together while attacking small dogs in a customer's yard. Although coyotes will hunt and attack pets (small dogs and cats), it is very rare that a coyote will attack a human being. Occasionally, human attacks occur and we recommend due diligence is in order when very small children play in areas where coyotes have been observed.
Damage reported to our office primarily includes loss of livestock and pets. Trapping is the recommended control method.
Copyright by Prairie State Wildlife 2023.