January brings us a new year along with another coyote breeding season. While official breeding season does not typically start until February, males are looking to mate now. About 4 to 6 pups are born in April usually in dens, caves or rock outcroppings. Males help raise the young while the female is the hunter and food gatherer. At about 4 weeks, the young emerge and start playing and the learning process of hunting.
Coyotes mate for life and will keep their young around them for a full year. What seems to look like a pack would better be called the family unit. Coyotes are not known to develop packs like wolves might.
Coyotes are oftentimes called “brush wolves” or “prairie wolves,” although they are completely different species than wolves. Coyotes typically weigh anywhere from 25 to 40 pounds and can run up to 70 miles per hour while in chase.
An interesting fact is that coyotes do not normally dig their own holes but will inhabit groundhog dens or other openings in the ground. Females search out rabbits, squirrels and small rodents for food but will also eat fruits, fish, and insects. Small pets and small farm animals may also be victims of the coyote appetite. Coyotes are omnivores meaning that they will eat about anything including garbage if necessary.
One of the dangers concerning coyotes is that they may lose their fear of humans. For that to occur, the animal would spend a lot of time near human dwellings and around places where pets spend time.
Urban coyotes are normally seen more at night than rural coyotes, but in either case, never corner a coyote.
- Always give a way of escape so that unless it has no fear of humans, it can run away.
- Shaking a can with coins in it may also deter the animal.
The most important thing is to not make your home or property attractive to the coyote. We humans do this by inviting smaller nuisance animals close to your home by leaving pet food out and having bird feeders where chipmunks, skunks, opossum, squirrels and other small animals may congregate.