It had to happen sooner or later but come on – “Selfies” with wild animals? Cheryl Santa Maria writing for the Digital Recorder reports that residents of Montreal have been posting Instagram selfies with Coyotes. Essentially, the article reflects an increased number of Coyote sightings from last June to this April in Montreal. Now the average person is going to ask, “why would an wild animal that avoids people get close enough for a selfie?” Even Instagram has admonished their users against attempting selfies with wild animals, it never turns out well! Habituation is a word that keeps appearing in ongoing instances of human interaction with wildlife. The action of humans attempting to “help wild life” by feeding them is not a good practice and is discouraged by any and all wildlife scientist! However, PETA has a different view on the subject – This author disagrees with PETA on that stance! When wild animals start getting comfortable being around humans the relationship will end badly for both the humans and the wildlife!
Feeding wildlife encourages even closer associations. Stop for a moment and think back about the times as a child you were offering the family pet a treat. What happens when you put out a treat to a pet and then quickly pull the treat back? Instinctively the pet will lunge forward and attempt to snag the treat before it gets away. Too often the snagged items are the fingers holding the treat, OUCH! Screaming at the top of their lungs children will run off crying to Mom that the dog/cat just bit them. The family pet will run away but wild animals often interpret the wailing and fleeing as a sign of distress and intensify their attack. Change the picture here just a bit, the Coyote is hunting and a human walks by with a small dog/cat on leash. OK maybe the small dog has just seen a Coyote . . .
We have one perspective, the Coyote another. The Coyote sees a small dog/cat trying to get away from the human. Must be food and the human can’t catch it, why the cord/rope? The Coyote goes into attack mode chasing after the small animal. The human yanks the pet up into their arms much like the child pulling the treat back. The Coyote attack intensifies, the pet begins crying and squirming meanwhile the human attempts to fight back. Being larger the human may have a slight advantage but depending on their hunger/aggressiveness, the Coyote has more of a reason to continue the attack. Not a pretty picture for either the Coyote or the human and pet! Go back a few days in time, this happened because the Coyote found a bit of human-provided food during its evening forage along this trail which was left behind by some well meaning human.
Oh Yeah, and for, those of you who think your dog is too big to be attacked. A seventy pound Labrador Retriever got off lucky because its owner stood his ground between his dog and a forty pound Coyote. A seventy pound Labrador versus a forty pound Coyote? An obvious mismatch but all too often the Coyote comes out a winner in those confrontations! This story comes out of Indiana which has seen increased instances of Coyotes or Coydogs which are typically much heavier then their western kin. Speaking of Coyotes along the eastern seaboard, more and more Coyote encounters are being recorded. The common thinking there is that more and more subdivisions are encroaching into the wilds hence more encounters with Coyotes and other wild animals. Encroachment into wild life may not be avoided as more and more humans decide that the city life is not for them. Unfortunately, most city dwellers have the wrong perspective of living with or among wild life! Now about those selfies – cell phone or digital camera?
Next edition find out why trapping, shooting and poisoning are not the only choices.
Stay Tuned – There is more to come on the Coyote Cam
I am sitting on the back porch enjoying the sitting sun relishing an adult libation and reflecting on life . . . . being retired has a lot of advantages and disadvantages. Family is relatively simple – my daughter and her husband are pursuing successful careers while the grand kids are grown and just starting their careers. On the down side, multiple doctor appointments as we enter our “Golden Years.” Let me caution you about these “Golden Years,” take really good care of your health and be mindful of your financial situations as you progress through adulthood! Now all of this has nothing to do with Coyotes – right?
Reflecting on one’s life has as much importance for Coyotes and maybe more so. The animal kingdom has been around a lot longer then humans, its a fact. Animals are born with out much hope of becoming young adults let alone seniors. The reason most animals die at an early age is bad health but more often as not is predation from other animals. Animals survive via a learning process which also includes lower life forms (and I am not talking about human thugs here). Most animals start life with two strikes against them. First, young animals have a high mortality rate and the rest of their lives does not get any better from there! The second strike against all animals is finding food and shelter. So is it easier to obtain food and shelter in the wilderness or from humans? Who has the most attractive shelters and the best tasting food ?
Humans! Does living among humans pose a problem- Yes and No. It may take a few generations of Coyotes to understand survival needs in the city but they adapt better then other wild life. Over the past issues of this blog multiple pictures of Coyotes have been published of them doing some amazing things. How about pictures of Coyotes walking across a frozen river taken by a US Coast Guard Cutter just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Ever seen a Coyote walk over the balcony roof of a bar? You can see it in the archives here. Really amazing are the photos of Coyotes waiting at a street intersection waiting for the lights to change so they can safely cross!
All of those “learned skills” are necessary to live in the city! Alright, you might say, so they can learn some stunts – how does that help them survive in the city? Those stunts are the tools needed to find food and shelter. Don’t forget they also have the ability to disappear. Wait a minute, Coyotes can’t just disappear. Actually what they have learned to do is to blend in with the background and remain extremely still even when within just inches of a predator / human. That knack for staying hidden is part of their stealth skills learned from millennia of being hunted by alpha predators. Stealth is a large part of how Coyotes can survive and do more then just thrive in threatening environments. Almost daily the media reports instances of owners walking their small dog down a common path bordered by low shrubs and bushes. All of a sudden a Coyote appears out of nowhere and attacks the small dog. No! The Coyote did not suddenly appear out of no where. The Coyote was crouched low in the vegetation bidding its time! Through its sense of smell and hearing the Coyote had learned that many domesticated, small animals (dogs) walked this path daily. Too, the Coyote is blazing fast when compared to other animals its size and weight. Adult Coyotes have been known to hit 35 miles per hour. Life skills come very quickly to Coyotes . . that or they do not survive. Its is good to sit safely on the back porch enjoying the sitting sun reflecting on life.
Stay tuned – there is more to come on the Coyote Cam
Yes Martha, there are things far worse then a Coyote attacking our family pet! Readers who follow this blog know that its material comes primarily from major media and internet stories (both authenticated and unauthenticated). So here we go – Lets all take a deep breath, relax and keep an open mind. No matter what is causing it . . . . climate change is a fact! Example: looking back this week major news media reported the Arctic Ice is at the second lowest level in satellite history. STOP! Satellite history is limited when compared to written history let alone the time the earth has revolved around the sun. All type of facts are available from multiple sources and depending on your personal interpretation can be devastating or uplifting. So yes, the climate is changing but at what rate? The speed of climate change appears to be increasing and most would agree the growing human population in all probability – has some impact on the rate of climate change. There, I said it and you will make of it what you will. I say climate change is probably worse then a Coyote attacking our family pet!
Well? The point to consider is that as the climate does indeed change what individual impact does it have on us? Begin with food sources . . draught or flooding will destroy your food source. Shelter . . many homes have been destroyed by both draught (fires) and flooding. With out food and shelter we humans become scavengers. Sound familiar? In addition to being hunters Coyotes are scavengers. As its territory expands and contract a Coyote’s focus turns from hunting to scavenging. What ever opportunity is presented to the Coyote will be maximized, the Coyote’s life depends on food and shelter. So you saw a Coyote sneaking around your back fence? Food and shelter is on the Coyote’s mind as it wonders your neighborhood. Unlike humans the Coyote can not rebuild and replant so it leaves to find a sustainable environment. You want the Coyote gone, eliminate its food and shelter. Hmm . . We humans may want to reconsider our priorities eh?
Between March 15th and March 26th 2018 there have been 14 public reports of Coyote problems, the majority along the east coast with several from New York. Regardless of where the reader lives if you haven’t had a Coyote problem it is only a matter of time before it happens. Knowing that Coyote problems are occurring residents would be well advised to prepare for the eventuality of meeting up with the four legged varmint. Knowing that climate change is happening now is the time to take precautions, throw an extra blanket and couple of bottles of water in the car before you take a trip. Keep that cell phone charged and consider keeping an emergency battery pack charged up as well. This year it seems the weather has been relentless on the East Coast and the number of citizens without power has to be at an all time high. Amazingly, no reported Coyote sightings have been made since the winter storms . . or have they? As for Coyotes your choice of defensive tools could be a hand held air-horn or the old reliable 12 gauge. The latter is my anti-Coyote choice though my neighbors take a dim view on loud sounds in the middle of the night. NOTE: Rabid Coyotes don’t respond to air horns but the 12 gauge will stop them dead in their tracks – so to speak.
OK so far we have climate change and Coyotes – how are they related you ask? Coyotes are in our neighborhoods and no one can explain why. The Coyote population is growing in our neighborhoods but no one seems to know how fast the Coyote population is growing. Yes, different localities seem to have varying speeds of Coyote population growth. Open the local newspaper or tune into the evening news show and various pundits will state that this or that is the way to alter climate change. Some local animal experts report that Coyote control is best achieved through trapping and is more humane while others advocate termination which is more expedient and definitive. No one has figured a solution to climate change and Coyotes peering out from under the brush near the driveway have no fear of us.
It is said that all politics are local. How about varmint control? The Federal Wildlife authorities have taken action with a degree of success in the western states. Some other areas over seen by those authorities have suffered collateral damage in the form of live stock and or family pets. The local communities have a better perspective on their need for varmint control and with the help of local citizens, can limit Coyote run-ins. Notice I said “limit,” too many well intentioned folks just have to feed the wild life! Once we get around those supporting wild life in the neighborhoods Coyotes will be motivated to look for other friendly environments. Recapping here – Climate change is still going on and I just got another trail camera photo of a local Coyote. On a positive note, the local drought seems to have diminished the number of Coyote tracks behind the back fence. On the other hand, it looks like my summer water bill is going to be quite a bit higher!
Stay tuned – there is more to come on the Coyote Cam
The Coyote hunting season never ends in New Mexico, hunting these predators here doesn’t require a license either. As a matter of fact a number of western states maintain open season on Coyotes and for good reason, these predators cause livestock losses. Lose your livestock and you will not be in business as a farmer or rancher for very long. A banker’s cold heart makes anti hunting protesters seem quite tame when those land payments come due. Meanwhile in town – these days it is interesting that just about every call a municipal animal control agency receives is in relation to a pet attacked by a Coyote. The loss of a pet (family member-right?) is devastating enough but to see that pet lying in the back lawn torn apart . . .well it doesn’t get any worse then that! The common problem here is the Coyote! What to do?
The agricultural folks will protect their industry at gun point while the folks in town are restricted in their control processes. However, both are hounded by animal rights activists. Generally speaking – folks on one side want the predator gone while the folks on the other side want the predator left alone. So which side is right? Both actually! Coyote diets rely on available food sources but as has been proven they can survive on any combination of food sources. Outside of the city limits gophers and rabbits are reliable food sources meanwhile, the city offers up rats and mice. Unfortunately, live stock augments the Coyote’s food sources while dogs and cats often end up as a city delicacy. The Coyote always prefers the food source which is the easiest to gather, they are not hard workers.
Coyotes have always been here but in the past they were the hunted. Wolves were the alpha canines and along with the other top predators such as the cougar and bear, Coyote populations were under constant pressure. Wolves hunt in packs where as the Coyote hunted alone unless raising their pups. Cougars are a lot faster in short runs then is the Coyote and the big cats far more agile hence the Coyote was badly out classed physically. What can you say about bears, their size is formidable! How can a 35 to 45 pound Coyote contend with a 200 pound plus black bear? There were no advocates for the Coyote back in those days. Times have changed for the good as far as the Coyote is concerned. At least in town there are no guns and not many traps. Plus, food and shelter are easy to find for the Coyote. Let us see – if you were a Coyote were would you want to live?
The Coyote has been evolving – on this every one can agree! Coyote populations are being shot on ranches and farms while the only problem a Coyote runs into in town might be a trap. Which population is going to continue to increase? That is right – the city bred Coyote! Those Coyotes living outside the city limits learn that their city cousins have a better life and soon decide that city life is a vast improvement over living on a farm or ranch. More so, when some one decides it is time for a “Coyote Hunting Contest.” The contest does not segregate males or females, they are both fair game! On the positive side a well run hunting contest depletes a specific population and provides revenue not commonly in place. There are a number of positive things that happen during these events, more on that in another posting. Perhaps the one big negative is the disposal of the carcasses. Coyote meat is not a well accepted form of protein! In a lot of cases and is done with other harvested waste and miscellaneous parts – scavengers are relied on to clean up. Other instances of unwanted hunting by-products are put into biologically safe trenches / holes. At least the latter does remove all indications of a hunting contest.
A stated in previous postings this author is a hunter and I see no problem with hunting contests. Varmints make for good target practice but burying materials not taken for consumption is a good practice. Where do you stand?
Stay tuned – there is more to come on the Coyote Cam.
Tonight was my night to cook and grilling a steak sounded like a good thing even though it is still mid winter in northern New Mexico. The night skies here are really clear, the stars shine bright! While watching the last of the setting sun and dreading the cold of the ensuing darkness I decided a fire in the fire pit would be the perfect idea while managing my cooking. Now a gas fire pit doesn’t have the ambiance of the camp wood fires I experienced as a youth or later on in early married life. These days I have to resort to wood chips to add the missing scent of pinion, oak or juniper. And too, wood fueled fires pop as the wood is consumed. Occasional embers float up from the fire and are carried away on breezes then dying some few feet out. The wood chips would do the same tonight though natural gas is now used to create the heat.
On a parallel note- most folks seem to wait until it is time to cook before brushing off their grill, bad move! How many out there clean their BBQ grills? Here is another consideration for you, what about the drip pan? Over the years I have migrated from charcoal to natural gas for a lot of different reasons but specifically the ease of cooking and clean up. Some of my early grills were a simple barrel cut in half with a heavy screen cook top heated by a wood fire. The wood went the way of the buggy whip. I quickly replaced the wood with charcoal. But just like later propane tanks, I couldn’t remember to keep my supplies in stock! Long story short, natural gas was more convenient.
On to my story – As I gazed out across the desert I thought I saw a shadow moving through the ocotillos and sage brush, something was skulking about. I knew what it was without seeing it in detail, a Coyote. Regular readers will know I harp about keeping your home surroundings clean but looking back on my admonitions I don’t see anything about BBQ grills. Time out! Where is this conversation going? Well . . .out door grills retain cooking odors and quite often, food debris. Most grills set up off the ground have covers BUT even days later will emit the scent / odors of what was cooked. Hello, Coyote attractant! Here is the bottom line. Don’t just burn the grill off. After the grill temperature is low enough get out there and give the cook top a good scrubbing, don’t leave anything on the cook top. Next, check to see if you have any drippings on the bottom of the fire pit. It is messy work but something that will diminish a hungry Coyote’s hunger pains to visit your yard. Aluminum foil works really well in the bottom of your BBQ grills, it keeps all the debris from cooking in one contained spot! When done grilling just wrap the foil and discard every thing into a closed trash can.
You are welcome. Stay tuned there is more to come on the Coyote Cam!
As an interested party in all things Coyote I use an aggregation program to scan the internet looking for articles about this predator. A recent article comes from the Chicago Tribune entitled, Slowik: Stop feeding coyotes, authorities tell Southland residents by Ted Slowik dated Jan. 16th, 2018. The article and many other before it reiterate the advice to well meaning but highly misguided folks to stop feeding the wildlife. In part, the practice of feeding wildlife encourages interaction between wildlife and humans. This blog has reflected on many instances wherein people have knowingly and unknowingly fed wildlife. Several humans in the course of feeding Coyotes have sustained serious bites and the animal later destroyed.
Let us examine the activity of feeding animals in general, no it doesn’t include Bigfoot. Most of us have hand fed our pets. Right? Did you know there is a right way to feed treats? Never offer anything to a pet using your extended fingers! Place the treat into the palm of your hand and place your open palm under the pet’s muzzle. Why? The pet will use its tongue to pull the treat out of your open palm. Otherwise, using your fingers to feed treats will encourage your pet to use its teeth to pull the treat to its mouth. Now, a lot of folks tend to be skittish and will pull back when confronted with pet teeth – this causes the pet to aggressively pursue the treat. Bitten fingers usually result from this method of treat feeding! Meanwhile, your pet wonders why you are growling at it while holding your bleeding fingers in your now clenched fist! Not a good thing!
Only a fool would hand feed treats to a wild animal. Nonetheless, there are fools that firmly intend to see that the wild life doesn’t starve to death!
The “Good Samaritan” leaves pet food by game trails or just throws some morsels over their back fence. Lets not forget that canines especially those that hunt for a living have a sense of smell many times more powerful then humans. Additionally, humans leave their scent on everything they touch. A Coyote will associate the human scent with food and using that exemplary sense of smell literally find its next home – yours. First and worse of all is that it imprints on the animal that humans are not to be avoided, humans provide food. Next, the human provided food is always there – no hunting required. Pet food is usually found in or near pet food bowls typically just a few steps from the human’s back door! Oh – and along those game trails too. The best buffet for a Coyote are the unsecured, loosely covered garbage cans.
Several days of assorted foods found in garbage cans is great stuff for a hungry Coyote plus it is another easy hunt, no sweat. So – humans equal easy food. This action is dangerous to both animal and human!The Coyote isn’t the problem! The Coyote is doing what he/she does to get by in this world, they are hunting for food.
You may just attract the attention of something a tad bigger then a Coyote
Don’t feed the Wildlife!
Stay tuned, there is more to come on the Coyote Cam.
First, a disclaimer is required here. This writer has always been an outdoor sportsman which includes hunting and fishing. In conjunction with being an outdoor sportsman we all need to recognize that predators come in all sorts of packages; fin, fowl and animal (both the two legged and four legged varieties). It is my belief that good stewardship includes land as well as wildlife! A well maintained wildlife environment provides a shelter against encroaching humans and conversely, predators from wondering neighborhoods.
The end of 2017 saw an uptick in the number of Coyote attacks, a lot of those attacks were fatal to family pets. This blog has long talked about the number of Coyotes being encountered in usually non-wildlife areas (think neighborhoods here). This blog has recounted the number of state, county and city agencies discouraging folks from feeding wild life yet a few people still see mangy Coyotes as hungry and in need of feeding. Television and newspapers note with regularity the number of Coyote and human pet interactions in gruesome details. One would think the Coyote is right up there with national enemy number 1.
Conversely, there are a number of groups through out the United States that advocate saving the Coyote. Just this past Sunday in the Albuquerque Journal a column entitled Coyote-killing contest riles somemight suggest that stopping cruel and insensitive Coyote killing contests ought to be the law as it is in some other states. OK, lets not paint all citizens with one brush. We are not all trying to save the Coyote – ask any pet owner who has witnessed their family (member) pet being killed by a Coyote. The majority of those folks see a need to eradicate the neighborhood Coyotes. Leave the city limits and there will be another person that has no need of the Coyote, those in the agricultural industry. Farmers and ranchers not only loose family pets to Coyotes but they loose a part of their income to Coyote predation. Cattle and sheep fare the worse loses due to Coyote attacks because currently, there are few other predators other wise – losses would be far greater! As any veterinarian can attest, Coyote attacks are often expensive to treat. A sheep or cow being much larger becomes even more expensive to treat.
Why has the Coyote become so infamous – in one word, humans. An ever growing population of humans is forcing wildlife into smaller and smaller parcels of land. Humans have paved roads into the lands once dominated only by wildlife. These roads create a quasi type of wildlife fence, cross it at the wrong moment and death is instantaneous. Those lands parceled by roads are also drained thereby eliminating sources of drinking water for wildlife as well the environment of water fowl. Wetlands, once home to water fowl are fast becoming construction sites. Say what you will, we humans are the ones encroaching on wildlife! OK, the point of no return has not been reached . . . yet! There are still areas where wild life abounds but that area is diminishing in size every day. The last place a Coyote wants to be is out on a ranch or farm, their life spans are limited out there! Much safer are the city neighborhoods where humans provide food that doesn’t have to be hunted and shelter that doesn’t require preparation or maintenance. Go ahead and leave those pet food bowls outside, be sure the backyard fountains are running and by all means don’t bother covering those garbage cans. Birdfeeders should be filled to over flowing so not only birds but squirrels come to visit.
Thanks for your readership!
Stay tuned – there is more to come on the Coyote Cam
Wait – What was that animal slinking about in the brush there? Some kind of dog or was it a Coyote? Ether must be in terrible pain! There was something really wrong, it had no fur. Worse yet, its skin was flaky and horrible looking. A distinct odor settled in as the unfortunate animal ran away, the sores on its body stinking beyond belief! Could it be an undead creature looking for a life to replace the one it lost? More and more animals are walking around suffering from mange, a common parasite infestation found mostly on canines. Only in this case the parasite problem is out of control! Most canines are born with some parasites. Puppies are at higher risk of infection though mange during their first year because of an under developed immune system. However, mange can and does occur later in life in a canine’s life. There are two types of mange, Sarcoptic and Demodectic. The first – a result from an out of control parasite while the second form occurs due to changes in the animal’s health. Most often older canines develop mange but the skin deterioration is also due to hormone imbalances and or cancers. Either form of manage is a reason to keep your animals on a leash. Mange can be found in the soil so while a leash can help prevent your animal from coming into contact with a diseased animal it may not totally prevent your pet from walking through contaminated environments. Oh! Yes – humans can contract mange if in contact with either a sick animal or exposure to parasite infested areas. Still sleeping with your pup?
The cure for manage- keep your pets clean with regular brushing. Pets may resist but wash them on a regular basis. Be sure to check every inch of their bodies particularly the folds of skin around ears, shoulders and flanks. Be sure your pets remain healthy, vets can help spot problems early and treat them as needed. Should a need arise for topical ointments your vet can guide you in selection and application. On a parallel thought – As we age we sometimes forget our pets are aging as well, aging pets can’t tell you they hurt. Older pets are susceptible to manage as much or more so once again it is important to pay attention to their health and any loss of fur.
Our regular coverage of Coyote attacks: The Denver area has seen a rise in Coyote attacks against small animals, even over six-foot fences. One resident lost her Miniature Doberman Pincer, the tall six-foot fence didn’t slow the Coyote down at all. Meanwhile, another owner watched as her seventeen-year old cat was snatched right off a front porch. It can never be stressed enough our pets are viable food sources for wild animals. The sad part is that pets really don’t know the difference between friend and foe until it is too late. Dogs have been seen playing with Coyotes or at least what was assumed to be play. In the case of the older cat it may have considered the skulking Coyote just another neighborhood dog roaming through the front yard. Pet owners need to provide their pets as much oversight as is possible. In order of importance; Pet feeding bowls cleaned and kept inside at night, all bird seed removed, potential animal dens destroyed and last but not least, keep pets on a leash! Walk your pets early to mid-day, Coyotes like to feed during evening hours but never assume there isn’t a Coyote nearby!
That’s it for October Coyote Fans! Stay Tuned, there is more to come on the Coyote Cam
It appears someone in Arlington Heights, Ill thinks they need to support their local wildlife – WRONG! Neighbors are up in arms as one of their own is suspected of feeding “home cooked meals” then leaving said meal under a nearby tree for the local Coyotes. What is wrong with these folks? It is not just this Blog warning about the problems with desensitizing Coyotes but many state ordinances do prohibit the feeding of wildlife for that very reason. The ideal situation is to haze or make the Coyote’s life miserable hoping that it will seek other locations for their feeding and den sites. Maybe some law abiding citizen in that neighborhood has their home security cameras trained on the tree drop off. Lets help stop well intended BUT totally misguided folks from doing the wrong thing – Do Not Feed The Wild Life!
Unfortunately, in Northern New Jersey (Saddle River) a woman was out walking her dog one evening this month when confronted by a “pack” of Coyotes. The article does not describe how many Coyotes were in the pack but suffice it to say the word “pack” suggests there were more then two. Here in the southwest Coyotes do not normally hunt in packs but rather family groups (four to five) specifically during this time of the Coyote’s life cycle. Coyote parents are teaching their pups/youngsters to hunt thus their numbers might suggest a pack. The article does not mention what type of Coyote comprised the “pack.” Another intriguing problem on the east coast is that the standard Coyote there is a good deal heavier then the standard Coyote found here in the southwest. Add to that larger size an even larger Coyote easterners refer to as a “Coywolf” (65% Coyote, 25% Wolf and 10% Dog) and now the animal becomes very intimidating! Thus, these two factors, the size and number of animals confronted would cause anyone to be alarmed let alone an older woman walking her small dog at twilight.
– Coywolf –
Just to remind everyone reading this issue – be prepared when you go out for a walk with or without your pet. Even if you don’t require a cane to walk get into the habit of carrying a big stick for those daily/evening walks! Most animals met on the street (with the exception of the two-legged variety) are frightened by something larger then they are – waive your “big stick” and arms in the air, yell “go away.” Keep yelling and waiving your arms pretty soon the animal will retreat or run off plus you stand a fair chance of attracting other humans to your predicament. Anything that makes a lot of noise is good thing too, some one mentioned canned-air horns! A coach’s whistle will work and may be a tad less expensive in the long run. Believe it or not a soda can filled with rocks makes a great rattle noise and has been used to scare off Coyotes.
That brings this week’s edition of the Coyote Cam to a close. Be sure to look for the upcoming edition of the Coyote Cam when we look into recent sightings of “Zombie Dogs.” Yes, ghosts and hobgoblins are not scheduled until later during Halloween but apparently these apparitions are making an early appearance!
Stay tuned, there is more to come on the Coyote Cam.
Good morning to all you Coyote Cam readers / watchers, the first of September has arrived. So what does that mean to the Coyote fan? We have talked in general terms about Coyotes spotted and encountered through out the country but not a lot about their family life so lets get down to basics. Back ground history for the following material was derived from the New Mexico Game and Fish, these fine folks work hard to ensure New Mexico’s wild life is properly managed. A lot more Coyotes are seen at this time of the year as the pups are now grown and capable of going about on their own. The Coyote family consists of an “Alpha Core” (Dad and Mom are monogamous most of the time) and pups that will hunt as a unit early on in that family’s cycle. Though more often then not at this time of the year, the youngsters are venturing further from the den developing their own capabilities. The pups are accepted back for a few more weeks but they will soon go out into the world on their own. Wolves hunt in packs dictated by a social order as opposed to the Coyote family hunting unit.
Breeding begins about mid – late January through February with gestation running about 60 plus days. Birth starts a little after St. Patrick’s Day or from mid March to late April of each year. The pups do not open their eyes for 10 days but will leave the den 2 – 3 weeks later. It is about this time that Mom may decide to move the pups to a new location as the youngsters get more active. Coyotes are known to have several dens available in their territories so Mom has several to choose from. The Coyote families eventually dissolve with the young males leaving prior to the arrival of Mom and Dad’s next liter. Of curious note here is that some of the original litter’s female pups will hang around and help Mom with her next litter. These “babysitters” are really helpful bringing food to Mom and helping to move their new brothers and sisters during the first few months to avoid den parasites and predators. The pups are typically weaned at 5-6 weeks after birth. The pups accept regurgitated food from the parents at this time but will soon begin their hunting training by accompanying Mom & Dad along with any of the older pups from the previous litter. As soon as the youngest are getting about on their own and able to keep up with Mom & Dad the other older siblings began to leave the Alpha Core. The mortality for young Coyotes is close to 50 percent, most pups will never see their first birthday!
Family units consist of 3 – 8 members and have relatively small territories of 2 – 3 square miles but may range out to 40 square miles depending on conditions. The Coyotes mark their territories with urine, fecal matter and anal-sac secretions. With their territories marked and ownership established the Coyote family lives a somewhat undisturbed life. The now mature adults from previous litters are establishing their new territories or arguing for ownership from the current owners. This time of the year is full of Coyotes, mature pups expanding their territories and looking to strengthen their viability. The new males are going crazy trying to figure out what this mating thing is all about and at the same time hunting enough food to sustain life and limb. From now through the next few months Coyotes will be more active then during the early summer months, especially the males.
Stay tuned – There is more to come on the Coyote Cam!