Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Phenology 2013: Preggers Coyote....

The Coyote (Canis latrans) activity has picked up substantially at several of our camera trapping locations.  This makes sense, as it has corresponded with the mating season and (soon) parturition for our region.  As Jackson (1961) reports, breeding primarily occurs in February, and most pups are born in April (gestation period of 60-63 days).

So, the timing is perfect.

Below are two clips of males at the same site for comparison.

....and now the pregnant female.....she just looks uncomfortable, doesn't she?

The den must be nearby, and I hope we can get clips of the pups......

As most know, the Coyote is often vilified and looked upon with scorn.  Jackson (op. cit.) mentioned several historic accounts of negative attitudes towards Coyotes in our region (note the "wolf" referenced in the passsages below is the "prairie wolf", which is an old common name for the Coyote).

"Among the other evidences of the rude and primitive condition of the town [of Mineral Point-TB] was the almost unceasing howling and barking of the wolves during the night, around and within its very borders, sounding at times as though the town was invested by scores of the brutes, much to the annoyance and alarm of timid strangers." (S.M. Palmer, 1872; 302).

Jackson also recounts some of the methods used in the past to eradicate these rude, brutish and annoying animals....

"A grand wolf hunt will come off Monday the 17th of December, 1863. There will be a line formed, commencing at ...... the town of Fulton, extending up .....in the town of Janesville.  Said line will be formed and ready to march at 10 o'clock A.M. There will also be a line formed on the west side of the river to act in conjunction with the first. ........ We invite all to take part, for the wolves are troublesome (Janesville Daily Gazette, Dec. 7, 1863)."  

The distance that this line of 'yote-hunters would have spanned was probably anywhere from 12-14 miles, as the crow flies.  Now, I don't want to sound hippy-dippy......but that's alot of effort to kill little ol' Wil E., which would suggest a very deep-seeded dislike or fear.

I wonder if the folks who orchestrated those hunts (or anyone today who dislikes Coyotes) would feel differently about them if they saw them acting just like their beloved domestic dog?

This doesn't appear to be skittishness. This behavior looks just like that of my dog when he's excited to go outside.


  1. She does look a bit uncomfortable! I love coyotes and am fascinated with their social hierarchy, communication, etc. That last clip is awesome:) Made me smile. Great post!