An Aurora man walking back into his home after a late night smoke was startled when a large animal believed to be a coyote lunged at him, biting and scratching his arm, police said.
The 47-year-old man told police he was on the side of his house in the 1200 block of Cottonwood Drive when he encountered the "large animal" shortly before midnight on April 20, according to Aurora police spokesman Dan Ferrelli.
The man, whom police would not identify, said the animal bit him in the arm and scratched him and then ran off, Ferrelli said.
As paramedics were treating him, the man told police the animal was not alone. "He said there was what looked like a second animal nearby before they both ran off," said Ferrelli. Police searched the area but could not find them, Ferrelli said.
The next day, animal control officers canvassed the neighborhood and alerted residents of the encounter. He said officials called in wildlife experts who, with animal control officers, determined that "a coyote was probably responsible for this." The officers also reinterviewed the man and got more details about the animal.
"It's extremely rare, we had to go with what the gentleman was saying," Ferrelli said. "[The attack] happened very, very quickly so he wasn't sure at first."
Officials distributed pamphlets to about 400 homes in a one-mile radius of the home giving tips on how to deal with the coyotes.
The man underwent treatment for rabies as a precaution because coyotes acting out of character and attacking a person would send up red flags of the animal being infected with rabies, according to animal control officials.
Aurora, like many towns in the area, has seen a spike in coyote encounters as developments spring up and open land becomes scarcer.
Steve Langston, 55, was outside enjoying the sunshine with his grandson Tuesday.
"I didn't realize it happened this close to home," he said of the coyote attack. "But this is Fox Valley, and animals are indigenous to the area.
Langston said he spotted a coyote several months ago while driving in a nearby neighborhood.
"It crossed the road in front of us," he said. "We thought it was a fox, but as we got closer we could see that it was much too big to be a fox."
But others like Saul Cardenas were surprised by the news. Cardenas has a regular route picking up garbage in the Aurora subdivision, where the attack is believed to have occurred.
"I would be surprised to see a coyote here because of all the houses," he said Tuesday. "If I did see one, I would kill it."
Ferelli said residents can get more information on coyotes on Aurora’s website at www.aurora-il.org, or by calling the city’s animal control division at (630) 256-3630. Another resource is the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website, www.dnr.illinois.gov.
Tribune reporter Erin Meyer contributed to this story.
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