My name is Coyote … Wile E. Coyote

From Duane Friend

Although many people living in town or even in a rural subdivision have not seen a coyote, other than through pictures or when watching Looney Tunes cartoons as youngsters, they are fairly common in Illinois. The following information comes from U of I Extension Educator Peggy Doty.

Coyotes stir many emotions in the human population including fear and anger. For many they represent the wild beauty of animal songs and prairies. Canis latrans is the scientific name for the coyote and it simply means, “barking dog,” which is perfect considering the serenade they deliver on any given evening. The chatter of the coyote family can bring an awareness of the wild around us even in a subdivision. It startles many people who assume streets with curbs and sidewalks mean a complete lack of wildness. On the contrary, coyotes live amongst us all the time but are so wary and able to stay inconspicuous we rarely see them. More often the coyotes are but a melancholy song in the night. The majority of those who witness the elusive coyote are hunters and farmers who catch sight of them most often due to their time connected to the land. Others who see coyotes may not realize they were simply allowed to notice them.

Coyotes are our best defense against the multiple rodent species that occur in high numbers. They are intensely focused on their family and really want nothing to do with us. Coyotes are considered a fur bearer and can be harvested as such; however, if your coyotes are not doing anything disruptive on your property, it would be wise to let them be so you don’t eliminate one who is copasetic with humans only to have the gap filled by a coyote who has learned a behavior that would conflict with your human wildlife values.

For more information on coyotes and other wildlife, visit the U of I Extension website “Living with Wildlife in Illinois” at

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About the author

Duane is an Educator with University of Illinois Extension in the Calhoun/Cass/Greene/Morgan/Scott unit.

View all articles by Duane Friend

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