Coyote captured in Loop to be set free

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

A coyote that wandered into a Loop sandwich shop and took a seat in the beverage cooler will be set free today.

The uninvited guest may have been looking for food when it wandered into the Quiznos sandwich shop on east Adams near Wabash. That sent all the customers out the restaurant's front door, which was apparently open because of the warm weather.

Animal control took the coyote away about 40 minutes later. The coyote will be released at the Flint Creek Wildlife Rehab Center near Barrington, a large, fenced-in area where he and other transplanted urban coyotes can roam the limited prairie -- without benefit of a nearby Quiznos.

Coyotes are quite territorial and quite good at adapting to what their territory presents. They have been in the Loop before, and will be again, but probably not with the same fanfare that greeted the coyote who went to Quiznos, 37 E. Adams.

The coyote is a young male, roughly a year-and-a-half old, about the time he would be striking out on his own, which he surely did Tuesday.

The good people at Animal Control have given him a name -- Adrian. Adrian spent Tuesday night in a cage, biding his time, being a good young coyote after his great adventure in the Loop.

"We feel perhaps he got away from his family and he was looking for refuge, looking for a place to hide," said Anne Kent, Chicago Animal Care and Control director.

Of course, it's a bit odd that a coyote would seek refuge in a Quiznos sandwich, but that's what Adrian did, strolling east on Adams in the post-lunch crowd. He walked in the front door that had been propped open because of the warm weather. He settled into the beverage cooler after unsuccessfully trying to vault the counter.

"It did not growl. It did not make any sounds. It just tried to get in. Apparently it was scared and tried to shelter itself," said Ray Zavalas, Quiznos employee.

For 40 minutes, he sat there quite passive -- next to the Gatorade -- a sort of odd celebrity, as dozens of passersby came to see the coyote who came to dinner and take pictures with their cell phones. Imagine what Mr. Coyote thought about all this attention.

Soon, Taurus Drake of Animal Control arrived with his catch pole, and Adrian showed his teeth during his brief and rather inglorious departure from Quiznos.

After being so close to the prime rib earlier, Adrian Tuesday night was uninterested in the dog food in his cage. Of course, having TV cameras around may dampen the appetite.

"They don't like that. They like somewhere in the dark -- noise -- they don't like noise," said Jose Tapia, Chicago Animal Control vet tech.

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