Lifestyle & Human Interest

Age 5 Boy Attacked by Coyote Outside of Museum in Chicago, Rushed to Hospital


Wild animals are good at adapting — it’s pretty much what they do. While some are definitely more resistant to change, those who scavenge have found ways to thrive even as humans encroach on their territories.

The problem, of course, is that they also get used to humans.

Instead of running off, they stand their ground.

Instead of fleeing, they attack.

Anyone who lives in a coyote-prone area knows this, and knows to keep any small pets indoors or risk losing them to the wiley coyotes.

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Even in cities like Chicago, coyotes have become commonplace.

In most cases, small dogs and cats are the ones at risk — but after this week, people in Lincoln Park realize they have a more serious issue on their hands.

On Wednesday, a 5-year-old boy and his nanny were walking outside near the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum when a coyote approached.

While details are slim, what is known is that the coyote attacked the boy, biting him in the head several times, according to what police and fire officials told WBBM-TV.

“We’ve had coyote attacks on dogs and we don’t respond to those, but I haven’t seen any where people are involved. I think they are getting more bold,” Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford told Block Club Chicago. “The experts tell us they will approach children as they become more accustomed to being around people.”

“They might not attack a full-grown man but they will attack a child. This child weighed about 50 pounds.”

The boy was taken to Lurie Children’s Hospital, and is reportedly stable. The attack has people concerned and authorities are on the lookout for the coyote responsible.

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The very same evening, an adult male was approached and attacked by a coyote about 3 miles from where the boy was attacked, according to Block Club Chicago.

The animal bit him in the buttocks, and while the man is also reportedly doing well, this second encounter has really driven the point home and raised the concern that the coyote(s) involved might be ill.

“If the animal’s sick that would make sense, but otherwise, for it to prey on a human is very rare,” Steve Stronk, who runs a wildlife removal service, told Block Club Chicago. “I’ve been doing this for 35 years and this is the first time I’ve heard of a child being bitten. Of course, I don’t know the circumstances. A lot of people feed them, intentionally and unintentionally.”

“Whatever you do, if you start seeing coyote activity in your neighborhood, stop feeding them. Pull bird feeders for at least a month because they aren’t here because they like us. They are here because their food, water and shelter are all free. If you do away with them, there’s no reason for them to be here.”

According to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, “attacks on humans are extremely rare considering the range and abundance of coyotes.”

“A study published in 2007 found 187 reliable reports of attacks on humans, most of which (157) occurred in California, Arizona and Nevada. Many of these incidents occurred where people were feeding coyotes intentionally, causing them to lose their fear of humans.”

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