The surprisingly large numbers of wild animals that call Oak Park home typically keep to themselves. But as winter weather makes their search for food and shelter more difficult, the odds of coming into contact with a wild animal increase. Typically, the biggest problem in a dense, built-up community like Oak Park is the property damage wild animals can cause when seeking shelter. Squirrels gnawing a hole in the soffit to get into the attic and raccoons, skunks and opossums burrowing under decks, porches and garage foundations are among the more common nuisance issues property owners face. The best defense against these intrusions is preventing their entry and eliminating any outdoor food source.
Be cautious, but don’t run from a coyote…As coyotes have made it clear they are at home in Oak Park, wildlife experts agree that simply seeing one does not necessarily constitute a problem or a dangerous situation. If a coyote approaches, they say do not run, but yell, stand up straight, clap your hands and wave your arms — or even throw something to scare it away. However, if a coyote is aggressive or shows no fear, move to a safe location and contact the Animal Control Division at 708.358.5680. Be sure to provide details including the date and address where the interaction occurred. To discourage coyotes from being attracted to your property, limit the amount of bird and pet food left outside. Garbage also should be stored securely — even though coyotes are not likely to eat garbage, they may be attracted by the rodents that do. In addition, do not leave small pets, especially cats, outside unattended. A fence at least four feet high can help prevent entry into the yard.
More information…For extensive information on how to make property less vulnerable to nuisance wildlife in urban areas, as well contact info for local nuisance wildlife control professionals, visit www.dnr.illinois.gov and use the search feature. For more information on dealing with nuisance wildlife in Oak Park, call 708.358.5486, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.oak-park.us/animalcontrol.