Coyote dens found in suburbs

April 22, 2008 4:19:19 PM PDT
There's a warning out for visitors to a north suburban forest preserve. A coyote den has been found in the Buffalo Creek Forest Preserve in Lake County near Buffalo Grove. Authorities say a woman and her dog were chased there last week by a coyote.

The advantage of living near a forest preserve is that you are near nature. But that also means you need to respect nature and its inhabitants, which include coyotes in growing proportion. Visitors to Buffalo Creek Forest Preserve may notice new signs on the trails alerting visitors of a nearby coyote den.

The pups are believed to be only a couple weeks old. So the mother may be more territorial. Advice to humans is to keep dogs on leash and, if you encounter a coyote, wave your hands or yell to trigger the coyote's instinctive fear of humans.

"Coyotes are really not a threat to humans. But they do view dogs as competition for territory. So they will defend their den from dogs," said Tim Preuss, Lake Co. Wildlife biologist.

As long as you remember that they are wild. They're not cute, cuddly dogs.

"We didn't want anyone to feel threatened. It was more of a situation to protect the natural aspect of the preserve and at the same time having people being able to still use the trails," said Allison Frederick, Lake Co. Forest Preserves.

Coyotes are typically very elusive.

Another litter of pups was found in another Lake County forest preserve recently, emphasizing that it is springtime and this is the time of year when female coyotes may be more protective because they may have a litter nearby.

Last spring, one trail was closed because the den was so close to the trail. The pups may appear cute but certainly their mothers around them are quite wild and unpredictable.

While the pups will grow up, they won't be on their own until the end of the summer. So until then, keep your eyes peeled, stay on the trail and also keep those dogs on a leash.

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