The wily coyote has been in the news more recently, primarily because of growing numbers of videos and photos of a coyote with a pet cat or dog in its mouth. It happens. Now I respect all aspects of the natural world and the order of things in the wild, but I also like my pets. A couple weeks ago, one of my home security cameras recorded a male coyote cruising around my yard in search of a quick meal – one of my farm cats. Over the last several years I’ve had a couple efficient mousers disappear and I’m certain they fell to a coyote. Have you seen a coyote in your yard? Even if you haven’t, I’m sure you have been seen by a coyote.
The coyote’s range has been gaining areas during the past decade. Many people find it hard to believe that coyotes, complete families of them, inhabit many states now that are not normally thought of as coyote supporting states. Although urban sprawl has affected wildlife habitat all over America, the coyote has adapted to the change of habitat. The coyote desires a diverse spread of habitat, but it does have its primary needs. Like all wildlife, the coyote needs food, water, and shelter. Most states have these three needs all in close proximity to each other.
This coyote was captured on my home security camera in January, spying on my pets.
The coyote feeds on a variety of small animals such as: rabbits, mice, squirrels, and chipmunks. Other small critters are table fare also for the coyote like, birds, frogs, toads, and snakes. Depending on the coyotes level of hunger or if several coyotes want to share a meal, a deer will be taken. A younger or slower deer offers the coyote clan a fulfilling and lasting meal. The coyote adapts in other ways than only to its home. Coyotes will eat what is provided to them by nature and people. Insects and a few species of berries and other fruits will be eaten for a filler between meals or as a primary meal if their regular food sources are absent or depleted.
The coyote is a devoted family supporting creature. Once a male and female locate and decide to mate, the relationship is one they will continue for life. The pair will raise their pups as a team. The parents will remain in their home range for life if uninterrupted, but once the pups are raised some will leave the territory and define their own, although a few pups will remain with the parents to complete a pack. This normally happens within the first year after birth. Mating season occurs during the late winter through March. A litter of can have a number of pups from one to a dozen will be born in May.
The home range of a coyote is from three to twenty miles in size. If necessary, they will travel outside the territory boundary. Hunting pressure or extreme habitat change are the primary reasons that push a coyote from its territory. There has been a coyote presence around my rural, Ohio homestead for about twenty years. The local population has fluctuated, but a steady supply of howls has echoed through my forest nonetheless. I’m keeping a close eye for the brave ‘yote to step too close to home, prompting me to keep my coyote population in check.
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