Have you seen any coyotes lurking around town recently? If so, you're among other Patch readers who've already sent in their spotting locations.
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.
Added Dave Margolis, the Natural Resource Manager at the Oswegoland Park District, "Feeding coyotes teaches them to associate humans with food, eventually making them very bold and unafraid. Do not feed them."
Margolis said the rapid development of Kendall County has caused a tremendous loss of natural habitat, bringing coyotes closer to urban areas. "Easy food sources such as pet food, open garbage cans, and birdseed all attract coyotes to residential areas," he said.
Coytoes are native to Kendall County and were abundant in Illinois prior to European settlers arriving. By the 1950s coyotes were considered "uncommon" as their numbers dwindled, but in the 1970s their population began to grow once more.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources estimates there are more than 30,000 coyotes in Illinois.
Patch asked readers on its Facebook page to tell us where they've seen coyotes in Oswego.