Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Coyote Sightings!

This article is adapted from the one I wrote for a local paper just last week.  I thought it might be interesting in light of the coyote posts in the forum. 

Several years ago, I was running through the woods behind the Kent State Campus next to the fairgrounds.  I have run the course many dozens of times. This particular day, however, held an unusual surprise. As I was running along the thickly wooded section of the path, I rounded a bend and was met by four long-legged, tawny canines. They were no more than 15 feet away. We stared at each other for several seconds. It was only a short encounter, then they bounded away.  But I have never forgotten their faces and the four pairs of eyes that met mine that day.  No snarls, no evil eyes. Just beautiful wild dogs out on a hunt or perhaps a morning stroll.
There have been many coyote sightings and many more coyote howls heard throughout Geauga County. I thought it might be interesting to learn a bit more about them and their way of life.

- Coyote parents may supply live mice to their pups for hunting practice.
- Coyotes are native only to North America.
- When coyotes are about two years old, they select a mate and stay with that mate for life.
- When hunting, coyotes sometimes pursue prey in relays, enabling packs to run down animals that could escape a single coyote. The list of prey able to escape a coyote is short - this is due to the fact that these animals can run in bursts as fast as 40 miles per hour and they also can jump over a 8' fence. These animals can also travel up to 400 miles at a stretch, stopping only occasionally to howl for news.                  
  - In 2006, a coyote was spotted in New York's Central Park.
- Coyotes use at least 10 different sounds to communicate, not counting their familiar yapping howl.
- In states with mountains, the coyote are more muscular.
- They do not hibernate and are very active during the winter months. Coyotes bed in sheltered areas, but do not use dens except when raising young, during severe weather or when they are being chased. Dens will have an entrance about a foot in diameter and are usually holes that have been used first by another animal like badgers or foxes.
- Coyotes can live and have adapted to virtually all types of habitat. From arctic to tropic, country to cities, desert to tundra.
- It is estimated that at least 400,000 coyotes are killed each year (one coyote is killed every minute) by federal, state, and local governments but also by private individuals.
- Coyotes can breed with both domestic dogs and wolves. A dog-coyote mix is called a "coydog".
- The great majority of coyotes don't prey upon livestock. However, once a coyote learns that young livestock are easy prey, depredation can become a problem. If this occurs, removal of the offending coyote is often recommended.

by Patty from Dogbarks


Giupetto and Gianna Tails said...

I found this very interesting - great read. Thanks Patty. I love that picture that you included. I didn't know they could breed with a dog. Coydog. Cool. I would have been so frightened had I encounted one on my run, but 4! Oh my God. I am glad they bounded away.

SassySashadoxie said...

The few experiences I have had with them. They seem very mellow. I still keep my pets and the kids I watch away as well as keep a safe distance. I think they really go after the easiest meals they can get. Unfortantly, in my area, most of it is human garbage. They probably think why hunt when there is lots of tasty treats in garbage cans, on the side of the road, and so forth.

Patty, thanks for the info. They sure are wild and beautiful creatures.