The other day, I was standing in the driveway of my Northeast Rockford home when I noticed what I thought was a fairly good-sized dog trotting down the street past my house.

Since I live in a neighborhood populated with dog owners, it's not unusual to see a dog walking by, but they are usually attached to a leash and the human being who's holding the leash. That wasn't the case this time. This "dog" was doing the route solo. As you've already figured out, this wasn't a dog. This was a coyote, and in the days following this sighting, I've seen several more of them at different times of day.

If your knowledge of coyotes is limited to the cartoons, you're probably shocked to learn that coyotes sometimes do other things (like making little coyotes) besides ordering faulty ACME products and chasing roadrunners with absolutely zero success.

Movies Unlimited, Facebook
Movies Unlimited, Facebook

From My Understanding Of Biology And Procreation, Illinois' Coyote Mating Season, Which Takes Place In February And March, Produces More Coyotes For Our State---But How Many Do We Already Have In Illinois?

Quite a few, and definitely more than we had a couple of months back. Coyotes all over Illinois are now producing litters of 5 to 7 coyote pups, and they'll keep it up through the end of May.

Coyote cubs play fighting
Getty Images

Here's something about coyote populations that I didn't know until recently, courtesy of (yes, I know coyotes aren't reptiles, but this site had great information):

Except for Hawaii, coyotes live in all of the United States, Canada, and Mexico. More coyotes exist today than when the U.S. Constitution was signed. Almost no animal in America is more adaptable to changing conditions than the coyote. Coyotes can live just about anywhere.

Doing a little more digging, I found out that these states have the largest coyote populations in the country:

  • Texas: 859,510
  • California: 250,000
  • Arizona: 200,000
  • Kansas: 150,000
  • New Mexico: 125,000
  • Arkansas: 106,360
  • Pennsylvania: 100,000
  • Georgia: 90,000
Fox family playing and exploring in an urban garden
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This coyote cub is nine weeks old.
Getty Images

Even Though Illinois Isn't One Of The States With Highest Coyote Populations, We Most Certainly Have A Lot Of Them, And The Numbers Are Growing

According to, "coyotes were rare in
Illinois for a long time after settlement of the state, but their numbers
increased dramatically during the 1970s and early 1980s."

As for their overall numbers in Illinois, puts the number as high as 110,000 coyotes:

According to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the coyote population in Illinois is estimated to be more than 30,000. However, surveys conducted between 2013 and 2017 by the Illinois Natural History Survey estimate the population to be between 54,000 and 110,000.

One more fact about Illinois coyotes that I was surprised to learn is that few coyotes live past 3 to 4 years of age. The oldest coyote found in a study conducted in Illinois during 1996 to 1997 was 13 years old.

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Because the regulation of exotic animals is left to states, some organizations, including The Humane Society of the United States, advocate for federal, standardized legislation that would ban owning large cats, bears, primates, and large poisonous snakes as pets.

Read on to see which pets are banned in your home state, as well as across the nation.

Gallery Credit: Elena Kadvany

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From grazing Tibetan antelope to migrating monarch butterflies, these 50 photos of wildlife around the world capture the staggering grace of the animal kingdom. The forthcoming gallery runs sequentially from air to land to water, and focuses on birds, land mammals, aquatic life, and insects as they work in pairs or groups, or sometimes all on their own.

Gallery Credit: Nicole Caldwell

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