Every time I have seen our local coyotes I have never had a camera with – well, if I don’t count my cell phone camera, which quite frankly is just not up to the job. On Friday, on our way to the zoo, the other half spotted this fine example on the side of the highway and I did have my camera with me!
These members of the dog family have over time adapted to their changing environment and can now be found all over North America, even populating large cities like Los Angeles.
They hunt rabbits, rodents, fish, frogs, and even deer. They also happily dine on insects, snakes, fruit, grass, and carrion. Because they sometimes kill lambs, calves, or other livestock, as well as pets, many ranchers and farmers regard them as destructive pests.
They form strong family bonds and in the spring females make a den and give birth to 3-12 pups, which are fed and protected by both parents.
Many people mistake a coyote for a wolf, but they are much smaller than wolves. Coyotes are also called prairie wolves and have a very distinctive call, which can turn into quite a concert. In the summer, when our windows are all open during the night, it is one of the many animal noises that wakes me up (the others being the bull frogs from the pond a block away, geese flying late at night – we seem to be in their major flight path here, and of course the barking of the neighbourhood dogs). During the night they give quite a performance and I can hear the pups play, even though the whole troupe is further away than just the field next door. Clearly their unique call travels some distance.
Why is it though that I am the only one in our family to be woken by this great noise? Neither husband, nor daughter seem to hear this or any other animal noise at night, and therefore lie there blissfully asleep whilst I am awake trying to get back to the land of nod. Most nights I enjoy hearing nature’s noises, but there are nights when even I wouldn’t mind a night of uninterrupted sleep.
In the meantime, whilst it’s winter and the windows are firmly shut, I shall enjoy being woken by the howling wind whipping the snow around the houses instead.