The animal, resembling a small German shepherd dog, carries its tail below the level of its back, rather than curved upward. Its upper body is typically light gray to dull yellow, but can vary from mostly black to nearly all gray or white.
Coyotes are common throughout Illinois where they are abundant in areas with a mixture of farmland, woodland and grassland, however, they are also known to inhabit suburban and even urban areas. Caution should be taken in a suburban setting with regard to pets such as domestic cats and small dogs. Reported attacks on humans appear to be rare.