The Hanover Park Police Department in Chicago has had to warn residents to be careful of “zombie”-like coyotes due to the creatures becoming more active during the daytime. Obviously they are not actual zombies, but are infected with a skin disorder called sarcoptic mange, which is causing residents to contact the police about what look like malnourished pets.
“Recently we have received several messages and posts from citizens concerned about what appear to be malnourished or neglected stray dogs,” the Hanover Park Police said in a Facebook post. “These are NOT lost pets, but are in fact coyotes.”
They even shared two images to show the difference between a normal coyote and one that had the contagious disease.
“There is unfortunately an increase in sarcoptic mange in the urban coyote populations which has caused these normally nocturnal animals to become more active during the day,” the post reads.
“Infected animals will often appear mangy – which looks just like it sounds. They suffer hair loss and develop secondary infections, eventually looking like some sort of zombie dog.”
Mange is highly contagious to other animals, and can also be transmitted to humans through prolonged contact with infected animals.
The department continued by adding: “Please DO NOT approach these animals or allow your pets to approach them.”
The Hanover Park Department has advised residents on how to carefully dispose of their waste by not leaving food or litter outside, to stop them from attracting the wolf-like canids. The mange affects their vision, which causes the coyotes to search for food during daylight hours.
There haven’t been any reports of the coyotes biting or attacking anyone yet. In fact, according to the Cook County’s urban coyote ecology and management website, “Domestic dog bites are far more common than bites by wild animals”. Better safe than sorry though.
For locals who spot a coyote and are worried about their safety, the website advises calling the police or animal control, however, their site also suggests “If one does begin to approach closer than you want it to, don’t run. Instead, yell, put your arms above your head to look large.”