Mistaken Identity

A Blog Story About Nature in Our DuPage Forest Preserves

Mistaken Identity

Posted by Stephanie Touzalin | 5/21/18 12:17 PM

Spring at a wildlife rehabilitation center means daily arrivals of baby animals. At Willowbrook Wildlife Center, our patient load skyrockets in the spring and summer months. Typically it is the baby bunnies, squirrels, ducklings, robin nestlings and raccoons that people are finding, but occasionally we will be surprised with a less common orphan.

Coyotes are not a rare species by any means; they live everywhere among us. Any wild place — or even not so wild place — is probably home to coyotes. They are important members of the wild community that fill the role of top predator. As a member of the canine family, they can resemble dogs; most often we hear they look like a German shepherd.

On the morning of May 10, a Bartlett resident found what was thought to be a stray puppy dog and turned it over to the police. Bartlett police officers noticed something about this seemed a bit off and did some research, determining they didn’t have a dog pup on their hands — but a coyote pup.


Image by Village of Bartlett

Coyotes use den sites to raise their pups and sometimes will move them if the need arises. It is possible that mom was moving her pups and dropped this one. In some cases she will return, but not always. Due to the location where this baby was found, returning her to the wild wasn’t an option.

This little female came in dehydrated and vocal! Otherwise she appeared healthy and we began the normal treatments we would administer to an orphan. Subcutaneous fluids (under the skin) were administered daily until she was properly hydrated.


She is now old enough to eat on her own and is doing so with gusto and putting on weight. Since she is alone, toys and stuffed animals are her companions for now, but she needs a foster family. We plan to transfer her to another licensed wildlife rehab facility that has other coyote pups and integrate her.

coyote-pup-update-3We are just getting her through a round of anti-parasitic medications, and she should be clear to go! Our goal is for her to grow into a healthy, wild coyote and be released into suitable habitat.

Discover more about coyotes at our Coyotes and Foxes page and living in harmony with coyotes year-round at our Living With Coyotes page.


Topics: Insider, Natural resources, Wildlife, Conservation, Coyote, Rehabilitation

Written by Stephanie Touzalin

Stephanie Touzalin is an education specialist at the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County's Willowbrook Wildlife Center. Stephanie has a degree in natural resources and environmental science with a focus on fish-and-wildlife conservation and delivers programs about native animals to DuPage forest preserves.