Project Overview: Ghosts of the city

Originally known as ghosts of the plains, coyotes have now become ghosts of the cities, occasionally heard but less often seen. With the exception of a few individuals, coyotes have largely learned to avoid us. Though a relatively recent phenomenon, coyotes are the top carnivores in an increasing number of metropolitan areas across North America. This includes one of the largest urban centers in the Midwest — the Chicago metropolitan region.

Have there been coyote bites or attacks on humans in the Chicago area?

No, there has not been a single coyote bite or attack reported on humans in northeastern Illinois. Recent media reports of coyote bites (a 49 year old man in Aurora and a 3 year old child in Columbus Park) were later proven instead to have been the result of domestic dogs. Domestic dog bites are far more common than bites by wild animals.

Avoid coyote conflicts

Do not feed coyotes

Confrontations with urban coyotes sometimes occur but can often be avoided. Here are a few simple guidelines to reduce conflicts:

  1. Do not feed coyotes
  2. Don't let pets run loose or be unattended
  3. Don't run from a coyote
736 getting outfitted

Coyote 736 was a healthy, young male that was trapped and collared on the southwest side of Chicago on June 2, 2013. His tail had a unique deformity — short, with a twist that resembled a pug's tail, so beginning his nickname of "Pug" (although we don't normally name coyotes, sometimes nicknames help our researchers communicate with the media when referring to animals). We were very excited to learn from this animal given his location. Pug traversed some of the most urban, rugged streets of Chicago and didn't seem to draw attention anywhere.