Sunday, February 05, 2006
Chicago's Coyotes Doing Well
The fact that coyotes occasionally adapt to cities has been known for years, based on scattered sightings. But now the first hard evidence of their presence is available through the efforts of a team led by Ohio State University assistant professor Stanley Gehrt. His group has been analyzing Chicago's critters for about six years, and continues to find surprising results that likely apply to nearly any North American city. Gehrt says:
1. In Chicago alone, the researchers have identified about 200 coyotes, in every part of the city, and they speculate there may be up to several thousand.
2. Coyotes have a large range, with solitary animals covering up to 50 square miles, sometimes in just one night. Small packs of five to six adults, and their pups, are common, and even those family groups will cover five to ten square miles.
3. Urban coyotes tend to be much larger and live much longer than their more wild kin.
4. Coyotes help control many other animals, such as Canada geese, deer, raccoons, rabbits, and rodents.
5. Coyotes usually pose little threat to people, and tend to operate at night to help avoid contact. But they do snatch some domestic pets and poultry, and also are attracted to easy outdoor food sources such as pet food or garbage. They're also drawn to less obvious sources such as fruit fallen from trees.
Source: SEJ Publications
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