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NPR Looks At The Urban Coyote

By Marcus Gilmer in Miscellaneous on Jun 15, 2009 7:20PM

The famous Quizno's Coyote, still from WGN video via The World Almanac
We all remember the famous appearance by a coyote in a Loop Quizno's a few years ago and we also know it wasn't the first such sighting. Now a report on NPR's All Things Considered confirms what we always suspected: an army of coyotes is quietly amassing itself for a ruthless take-over of the city. Okay, it's not that bad, but still, there are an awful lot of coyotes hiding around the city.

"At first we discovered there were many more coyotes living in the city than we had ever guessed." Gehrt estimates that more than 2,000 coyotes thrive in the Windy City, which is about 2,000 more than you might expect. Many thrive in the concrete nooks and crannies of the downtown Loop. His favorite lived virtually unseen near a retention pond right next to a post office.

"There were literally hundreds of people walking a few feet away from an alpha female coyote without ever knowing it," he says.

Gehrt says these animals are relative newcomers to cities like Chicago. He says that in the past decade, hunting in rural areas has pushed the animals into the urban fringe, where their biggest problem is now avoiding contact with the front wheel of a Hummer.

Chicago's not the only place that coyotes thrive in a downtown environment; Gehrt also name-checks St. Louis, Washington D.C., and Phoenix as places with a thriving coyote community.