Coyote

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coyote

Coyotes are a canine species that roams all of North America, and has been expanding down into Central America on its way to South America.  They resemble a smaller species of Grey Wolf, but they are a unique species on their own. There are 19 varieties of Coyote depending upon the region.  Males are larger than females, typically 18-44 lbs versus 15-40 lbs. The species in the Northern regions are noticeably larger than those found in Southern regions.  Their coloration also changes from region to region, with those found in higher elevations being darker than those found in the desert. They are also well known for their vocalizations, barking and yipping and howls.

 

Coyotes are probably one of the better known canine species, and has interacted with humans for centuries.  There is a wide scope of Native American folklore about the coyote. Coyotes are well know also because of their integration into populated regions. Coyotes have been known to show up pretty much anywhere, including the case of one running wild in New York City.  While they are not known to be very aggressive towards humans, the number of bite incidences has been increasing with the expansion of neighborhoods that were traditional habitats of the Coyote. There have also been cases of coyotes mating with domesticated dog, leading to hybrid offspring known as "Coydogs". In northern regions they sometimes mate with wolves to make "Coywolves". 

 

Coyotes live in nuclear families centered around a reproducing female, but sometimes small packs of unrelated coyotes will band together bring down larger prey, but they do not continue to stay a pack.  They den in the wild and are only territorial when there are pups in the den.  Coyote populations in an area depend upon the availability of prey and water. They usually dig a den into the earth, but will sometimes us available places such as hollowed out trees or even drainpipes.

 

Coyotes will feed on almost anything. Their predominant foods are animals. They eat everything from mice up to deer or bison, but sometimes will eat wild fruit.  This brings them into conflict with humans, since they are the largest source of attacks and deaths of livestock such as sheep, goats and cattle.  Because of this, they are constantly hunted or are listed as nuisance animals and can be killed on sight. The government will use poison, traps and hunting to kill approximately 90,000 coyote a year to help keep the population down.  Coyotes will also come into contact with humans to scavenge garbage to to steal food left out for dogs and cats. They have been known to attack smaller dogs and cats as well.