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Coyote image
Coyote

Coyote

(Mammal)

Coyote Baby
Coyote Baby

Coyote Habits

The coyote ranges from icy Alaska to Costa Rica. It can adapt to many habitats but is most at home in open grassland and thinly wooded bush.
In its preferred terrain, it marks off its territory with urine and uses its howl and other loud calls to warn off intruders. In other habitats coyotes live a more nomadic life. In some areas they stay in the hills in summer and move to valleys in winter.
Indirectly, human beings have helped to increase the coyote's numbers. By getting rid of the wolf in much of the United States and thinning or eliminating many forests, they have made it possible for the coyote to extend its range further east.
But people also hunt coyotes for their attractive pelts and to prevent them from killing sheep. During the early 1970s, up to 100,000 coyotes a year were trapped, poisoned, or shot from airplanes in the West. In 1977 the fur industry alone took more than 320,000 pelts throughout North America.
Today, however, the coyote is protected in 12 states and hunting is regulated in much of North America

Coyote Communication

Communication is the key part of the highly social coyote pack. Howler calls are used for locating and finding how many animals are in the area. The more dominant males and femals will come in fast to see who’s in the area. Too much howling will force younger dogs out because they don’t want to get attacked by the dominant alphas in the area.
Coyotes use a bark when in danger or when protecting their young or their kill. More dominant males and female couples will respond forcefully. Younger coyotes might be driven out of the area if the bark is to forceful.
A Yelp, is an indication of a healthy coyote family unit. When there is stressful times in the coyotes environment like hunger, a yelp might bring in younger coyotes.
Huffing is used for calling pups without making a great deal of noise. In addition coyotes communicate with each other and other animals by marking their territory. They do this by making a border with urine or scat. Neighboring coyote packs are nervous to cross other coyotes territory.

Coyote Breeding

Coyotes usually mate for life, but those that live longer than average often have more than one partner. During the breeding season, the female is in heat (ready to mate) for about 10 days. After mating, she looks for a secluded place to make a den. Depending on the terrain, the den may be in a burrow dug by both parents, stolen from a fox or badger and enlarged, or hidden in a cave or dense thicket.
The pups are born after a two-month gestation period and are nursed for up to seven weeks. At about three weeks they begin to eat solid food that has been regurgitated by the parents. The pups are fully grown at about nine months and sexually mature at one year, although many wait until their second year to mate.
Where food is plentiful, young coyotes may remain with their parents and hunt in a pack. But these packs seldom last long. When the young mature, competition within the family forces them to leave. They typically travel more than 90 miles to establish territories of their own.

Coyote Food & Feeding

Coyotes hunt mostly at night and can adjust their hunting technique to suit their prey and the environment. They are almost exclusively carnivorous, with jackrabbits, ground squirrels, and other small rodents making up more than 90 percent of their diet.
Like foxes, coyotes usually stalk their prey and then pounce on it. Coyotes also pursue large animals such as deer and elk in small packs of around six. Like wolves, they work together to track down, harass, and kill these larger prey. But their packs are far less stable than wolf packs since they usually consist of a breeding pair and the young still in their parents' territory.
Coyotes feed on already dead animals (or carrion) as well as live prey. In some areas already-dead cattle and sheep make up half their diet.

Coyote Key Facts

        Size 
              Height: 18 to 22 inches at shoulder. Length: Head and body, 30-40 in. Tail, 12-16 in.
              Weight: 15-45 Ib
       Breeding
             Sexual maturity: 1 year
             Mating: January to March
             Gestation: 58-65 days
             Number of young: 2-12. Usually 6
       Lifestyle 
            Habit: Social; nocturnal predator
            Diet: Small mammals, carrion, deer, and sheep
            Lifespan: Usually about 4 years. Up to about 22 years in captivity

 

DID YOU KNOW?

  • The coyote's name sounds Spanish, but it comes from the ancient Aztec word coyoti.
  • Coyotes use at least ten distinct sounds to communicate in addition to their familiar high-pitched howl.
  • The coyote is also known as the prairie or brush wolf.
  • Coyotes and badgers sometimes cooperate in finding food. A coyote sniffs out rodents and then leads a badger to the burrow. The badger digs the burrow open and the two share the prey.
  • Coyotes have a very keen sense of smell. They can even detect prey scurrying under snow.

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