Coyotes are highly adaptable animals that can thrive in almost any setting, including residential areas. They are generally afraid of people but can become accustomed to them if they find an easy food source like pet food or if they are intentionally fed.
The City of Wheaton has adopted this Coyote Policy (PDF) for how the City addresses situations regarding coyotes.
Do Not Feed Coyotes
Feeding wild animals such as coyotes and feral cats violates City Code, and violators can face fines. Please do your part to make sure wild animals such as coyotes are not fed - either intentionally or unintentionally. Feeding wild animals abnormally attracts coyotes and promotes increased numbers of rodents, birds and other creatures that can provide major portions of the coyote’s natural diet.
Ways to Deter Coyotes
- Do not leave food for wild animals.
- Feed pets indoors or promptly remove dishes when pets complete their meal outside.
- Store bags of pet food indoors.
- Clear brush and dense weeds from around property to deprive rodents of shelter and reduce protective cover for coyotes.
- Try to educate your friends and neighbors about the problems associated with feeding coyotes.
What to Do if You Encounter a Coyote
- If you encounter a coyote, acting aggressively helps re-instill a fear of humans in coyotes. This technique, called "hazing," teaches coyotes that they are not welcome. You can:
- Make eye contact and yell at the coyote(s)
- Wave your arms and make yourself appear as large as possible
- Use a noisemaker or a whistle
- Throw objects toward the coyote
- Stomp your feet
- Clap your hands
- Run toward the coyote to scare it off
- Act threatening
- Spray a hose toward the coyote(s)
Hazing does not include weapons and does not physically harm coyotes. Be persistent and keep hazing until the coyote leaves. Because they may have become accustomed to humans, coyotes may not immediately leave, but following through is important for hazing to be effective. Wildlife experts do not recommend hazing if a coyote is injured, sick or has become cornered; in these situations, coyotes may act unexpectedly.
Anyone can call 9-1-1 if they observe any wild animal behaving in a threatening manner. Police officers will respond.
How to Protect Pets
- Keep small pets (cats, rabbits, small dogs) indoors. Don’t allow them to run free at any time. They are easy prey.
- Use a short leash when walking your pet. Never let a coyote get between you and your pet.
- Dogs should be brought inside after dark and never allowed to run loose. This is especially important during mating season, which is February through April.
- Do not leave domestic pet food outside. Wildlife will soon depend on it.
- Fences do not guarantee your pet’s safety. Always attend to small pets outdoors.