Coyotes are part of the dog family, and they are most closely related to wolves. Coyotes are the largest predator in Illinois. They mostly eat other animals, with rabbits and mice serving as an important food source.
Many people fear coyotes because they think they will hunt our small pets. While this does happen on occasion, most coyotes have a healthy fear of humans and will avoid encounters with us. You can keep your cats and dogs safe from coyotes by not leaving them unattended in your yard, especially at night.
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Because of their reputation for hunting pets, many people consider them a nuisance, but they are an important part of the ecosystem. They are well-adapted to living in different types of habitats, so it is not unusual or concerning to see them around our neighborhoods.