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Saturday, March 5. 2011
Dog of the Week re-post: The Coyote in the East
Coyotes have been moving south into the eastern US since the 1970s, presumably from Ontario. About 30% larger (50 lbs and more) than the western coyote, they have some wolf DNA from hybridization in Canada.
They have adapted to suburbia, where they prey on cats (that's a good thing), small ankle-biter dogs (another good thing), mice, rats, fawns, geese, etc. So although they do not really belong here in New England, they eat things that we don't mind their eating. And they have become common.
Massachusetts poet Catherine Reid has written a book about the coyotes which have now entended their range to the southern states, with great success, despite hunting, trapping, etc. The more of them you kill, the larger their litters. They are here to stay - at least until wolves return. Wolves kill coyotes, just as coyotes kill foxes.
Posted by The Barrister in Natural History and Conservation, Our Essays at 11:42 | Comments (17) | Trackbacks (0)
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We have a saying diwn in these yerrrr parrrrts
"Kill a fox & two will come to its funeral"
I expect that its the same with you
we do not have so many foxes - and never did. I believe that the red fox was an import. But we have them.
I've got a red fox den in the woods behind my house. Last year I was walking through there and three fox pups (kits?) ran up to about six feet from me. I see their tracks all the time in the winter so I guess they're full time neighbors.
they are very good hunters and enjoy a meal of pet cat and pet dog when they can get it - they enjoy Poodles the most but I suspect that is just a story
Are you sure the coyotes aren't coming from the west or south? We've had them in Ohio for decades. Also, when I was growing up in Mass. in the 50/60s, there was lots of talk about coydogs. So maybe they've been in your neighborhood a very long time.
In Ohio, they're varmints--no bag limit. Knox Co. supposed to be full of them, but I've only seen one once and heard one once.
We have a biologist at OSU (the real OSU, not the pretenders west of here) who studies coyotes. He thinks that there are about 900-1000 living in Chicago. Tag and release program. Not the suburbs, the city itself. They eat garbage and small animals and live under porches and behind dumpsters, etc. They are well adapted to city life and have numerous large litters. There's also a pack living on OSU's ag school campus next to the main campus in Columbus. Two miles from downtown. Mainly, they seem to feed on the ag school's barn cats. There are red-tailed hawk on the ag campus, too, but they leave the cats alone.
In re the coyote diet ... Old saying covers it -- "big bugs have little bugs upon their backs to bite 'em, and little bugs have lesser bugs, and so ad infinitum..."
We have a governor in Texas who likes to take his dog with him when he jogs. Not long ago he was jogging away when the two of them came upon a coyote who started to attack Perry's dog. Perry pulled his side-arm and shot the coyote. Far from being ashamed of killing the coyote, he said, "Well, he's road-kill now," holstering his side-arm and jogging off home. All those bleeding heart environmentalists who want to protect everything against everything else were shocked. I'm not... Mammals are a predator/prey species after all.
They actually will take down a sick or hurt adult Whitetail. We have quite a few in rural NJ.
Despite the denials of our DEP, we have a huge population of feral dogs which have interbred with coyotes to produce bigger and more harmful "coydogs" or "dogote". Our DEP has taken the same approach that PA and NY have with respect to the interbreeding - "The science dictates that while it is possible, it is highly unlikely". Well, I've seen the pack that runs around this area ( about 10 to 12 at last sighting) and they ain't coyotes - I know what a coyote looks like and these critters ain't coyotes - they are a dog/coyote cross.
In the mid 60s in CT my family took care of a coy-dog, a coyote dog mix, until it died one winter's eve.
And I wrote this before I had seen Tom Francis's above comment on coy-dogs.
They've been in my mother's suburban Virginia neighborhood (DC area) for a few years now. I was surprised to hear that there were coyotes around there. When I was growing up, that neighborhood had nothing more exotic than squirrels and various sorts of birds. About 15 years ago, though, chipmunks moved in, and more recently, deer and coyotes.
The Seppofarm and surrounding farmland is full of coyotes, we see them regularly. As the dog and I do our lengthy daily exercise/hunt tours over several square miles of farmland and woods, we encounter single and pack coyotes. This winter there were few deer tracks in the snow, just one fox, but many coyote tracks.
My dog doesn't like them, and when they sound off at night he reacts negatively. We go in and out from the house through the garage, and often I see the garage light come on in the evening because a curious coyote has broken the safety beam, which turns on the light or stops a closing garage door. Last fall when the light came on, I went out with my light and observed five coyotes that had scampered to the woods thirty feet away.
My neighbor hunts them avidly, but can't keep up with their population growth. The neighborhood alpha male looks bigger than another neighbor's Belgian Malinois and German Shepherd.
We also see coyotes around the Cape Cod family vacation home. And a pal spotted a couple on a recent trip to Philadelphia, one in Fairmount Park and another near Drexel. They are very adaptable and opportunistic critters.
Coexisting with coyotes is difficult when they are in abundance. They eat livestock and pets and attack humans often enough to cause concern. In June every coyote scat is full of fawn hair. Coyote killed deer are common in the depths of winter, and they often just eat a little meat and abandon the carcass.
I shoot every one I see, got 12 last year and the neighbors shot 8. No worries about wiping them out or even controlling their population in a significant way. Just tune them up and keep them out of the human and livestock areas. They lose fear of humans very quickly.
We hear coyotes almost every night and every morning before dawn. Lately we even hear them sometimes in the middle of the day. There are a whole lot of them. I can't say they're looking any bigger, here in South Texas, but they do seem bolder.
Not all people agree that killing cats - or little dogs for that matter - is a good thing.
Just wait until the coyotes get so big they go after big dogs....
Over the last few years my elderly mother has had three instances of coyotes trying to take one of her dogs-- while she is out walking her woods with them. They seem happy to take her too, when she intrudes, though no injuries have yet resulted. Each time, my brothers and I (none of whom still live in Ohio) have had the pack hunted away, but the new pack that moves in doesn't seem to know that mother humans are off-limits. I've tried to get her to carry one of our shotguns but it's too much of a burden for her, so she carries pepper spray. I'd be happier if the coyotes weren't around, so we hunt them aggressively now.