Orland Park Police Urge Residents to Report Coyote Sightings

Orland Park Police Urge Residents to Report Coyote Sightings
Posted on 03/16/2017

Coyotes have been in the Orland Park area since the late 1970s when they used area railroad tracks as highways to Chicago's south suburbs. The current population is growing because coyotes have no natural predators.

"Residents should call the Orland Park Police Department at 708/349-4111 to report coyote sightings and their location," said Trustee Dan Calandriello, Public Safety Committee Chair. "For the safety of family pets, please do not leave them unattended outdoors in order to avoid unfortunate attacks by coyotes."

It is not uncommon to see coyotes in packs of as many as eight. The coyotes' breeding time is normally in February and March with their pups being born in April and May, after 60 to 63 days of gestation. Coyotes can have anywhere from five to seven pups in a litter.

"Coyotes look like German Shepherds and, at this time of the year, they look very large because their winter coats are in," explained Orland Park Police Animal Control Officer Steve Stronk. "When they're wet, they look like a 40-pound dog."

Stronk recommends that residents who feed birds and see coyotes in the area should stop feeding the birds for at least a month.

"Most coyotes feed on rabbits and mice but they'll never pass up a free meal. They do eat bird seed and all other animals and birds that feed on the seed," he explained. "The Police Department knows of Orland Park residents who --- despite our repeated warnings --- have been feeding coyotes. This is one of the reasons why coyotes are losing their fear of humans."

It is illegal to ground feed any animals or birds in the Village of Orland Park.

"We cannot stress enough that people should not feed any wildlife in Orland Park. They must let Mother Nature take its course and let animals forage for their own food. Whether it's the geese at the ponds, coyotes, raccoons, deer in your backyard or any other type of wildlife, do not feed them," Stronk said.

Illinois Department of Natural Resources records show no documented coyote attacks on humans; however, they will attack family pets.

Residents who encounter a coyote are cautioned to never run from it or take their eyes off of it.

"If you run, you could engage a predatory instinct and the coyote could give chase," Stronk explained.

Residents who encounter coyotes should yell, scream and wave their arms, making themselves look larger than they actually are.

"If that doesn't work, throw whatever is handy at the coyote or carry an air horn like boaters use," Strong added, "An air horn should make them leave in a hurry."

Residents are encouraged to always carry a cell phone when out walking or walking their dogs.

Walkers are also encouraged to go to the nearest house for help and ask that the homeowner call 9-1-1 so that a police officer can respond.

Residents with additional questions about wildlife in the Village of Orland Park may contact Stronk by calling the Police Department's non-emergency number at 708/349-4111.