This amazingly adaptable predator is common throughout North America. Coyotes are genetically related to dogs and can produce fertile hybrids. Coyotes are very social, traveling in family groups, though they normally hunt alone for small mammal prey, where they may travel 3-10 miles during a night. When tackling larger prey they may cooperate as a group, attacking the animal from the front, unlike wolves, which attack large prey from the rear. They take a variety of animal foods, as well as some fruits, consuming something over one pound a day. Coyotes produce at least 11 different vocalizations, the commonly heard yapping and howling before going out on solitary nightly hunting forays and when reuniting may serve a kind of social bonding function. Coyotes are monogamous and mate for life. Females care for their pups in dens in arroyo banks, rock bluffs, or under brush in the open. Individuals may live for up to 20 years. One reason for the persistence of coyotes despite eradication measures is their physiological capability of increasing litter sizes when population density decreases.
Photo taken on Rosebud Reservation, SD with a Nikon P510 camera.
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