Monday, June 29, 2009

Coyote Searching for Breakfast in my Backyard

I looked up from my breakfast table and saw a rare visitor had leapt over the six foot (2 meters) wall into my backyard to search for breakfast.

The coyote was searching among my blue agaves for food, and that means live food. Tomorrow I will show you the cute little guy the coyote was after.

Coyotes can jump our six foot block fences in one leap.  Lately, they have been coming around more, but this is the first time we have seen one in our backyard. Usually they stick to chasing animals in the front yards and on the streets. Although two of our neighbors recently lost their pet cat and small dog to the coyotes.  

The term Coyote is from Mexican Spanish, and is derived from the Nahuatl word "coyotl."  The scientific name is Canis Latrans, which means "barking dog." It is also know as "prairie wolf" and the "trickster." Many Native American stories involve the coyote and how quickly it fools the eye and vanishes. Here one second and gone the next. I have seen this first hand many times.

Coyotes can run up to 43 miles per hour (69 km/h) and jump up to 13.5 feet (4 meters).  The upper frequency range for coyotes is 80 k Hz, compared to 60 k Hz for domestic dogs. Some experts have noted that the shape of a domestic dog's brain case is similar to a coyote's, not a wolf's. Coyotes live around people better than wolves. Wolves are hostile to coyotes.

Coyotes are generally nocturnal but because of human pressures they are becoming more diurnal. Coyotes generally travel in pairs. Coyotes in groups are called a pack, band or a rout. Coyotes' social behavior is similar to the Dingo in Australia.

Coyotes live up to ten years in the wild. People usually hear coyotes more than see them. Coyotes make a high pitched sound of howls, yelps, and barks. I hear them at night when I am in the desert, but only occasionally hear them around my house. 

Coyotes have a symbiotic relationship with Badgers. They even hunt together, and the coyotes will sometimes take the badgers' or groundhogs burrows. Coyotes and bobcats can live in somewhat close proximity of one another. Coyotes, however, are often killed by cougars and wolves. 

Coyotes do not attack adult humans but can attack small animals and children. Coyotes are not afraid of humans. I have gone outside in the early morning to stomp my feet at them when they are in my front yard, and they just look at me and slowly saunter away. When I see them on the road walking, I roll my window down to talk to them, and they do not runaway afraid. They just continue doing whatever it is they were doing.

21 comments:

Jim K said...

Strange that a coyote is part of your everyday life. To me that is an exotic animal. Neat stories.

B SQUARED said...

Always amazes me the wildlife people have in their backyards. Where I'm at for the summer, we have wild turkeys;amazing creatures.

Dave-CostaRicaDailyPhoto.com said...

Very informative post. You neglected to mention that one time there was a Roadrunner in the back yard. Too bad the Roadrunner and the Coyote were not there at the same time, except the Roadrunner might have set off some dynamite or dropped an anvil on the Coyote before saying "beep, beep" and speeding off.

Vogon Poet said...

I saw this only in movies. It so strange to think that a coyote may come in your everyday life. i hope they are really not dangerous.

*SparkleMirror* Kiln-Fired Art Studio said...

Good Morning Julie!

Great quick shot of the coyote... I lost a cat to one of these, too, when I lived on the edge of the Penasquitos canyon in northern San Diego County.

Abe Lincoln said...

It is a blessing that they exist at all. So is the wolf. Many wildlife species have vanished, like the Polar Bear is headed, and most is due to man.

We sometimes hear of a coyote around here and I would be all shivers if one leaped over my 6 foot fence.

I almost puked when I learned that Alaskan governor shot wolves from planes.

She doesn't know, I guess, that wolves are social animals and have a hierarchy like elephants. Kill one and you may destroy the whole pack who depended on that one for everything.

I would vote those kinds of people into hell but not out.

Kate said...

How wonderful to be able to talk to a coyote! Greet him/her for me next time you get a chance. Yes, we, too, have wildlife in our neighbor's backyard--5 baby raccoons and the parents. This is the second year that raccoons have set up a "maternity ward" in the huge maple tree next door. Since it's so big, I wonder if the hollow space makes the tree unstable, because if it is, they and we are in for a bit surprise if it ever tumbles. Incidentally, re. your comment on my butterfly. Because of the number in the reserve tent, it was a simple task to photograph, but since my good camera is at Canon's for repairs, I'll need to return to get more photos. More, however, will be posted this week. Stay tuned!

Olivier said...

voila une belle prise, il a l'air de sa cacher, mais tu as réussie a le prendre en photo
a nice catch veiled, it looks of her hide, but you succeeded has take a photo of it

brattcat said...

Last night, while visiting a friend who lives in the woods, I went out around dusk and heard dozens of coyotes barking off in the distance. We have them here in Vermont too.

Thérèse said...

No coyote around us -further east- San Tan mountains and Southmountains too far and the walls too high... great catch!
Great blog Julie.

Neva said...

Wow...that is amazing they can jump so high! I also have a coyote around us ( a suburb of Chicago) and it was pretty brazen as it sautered throught my backyard. Considering I have 2 labs , a pointer and a litlle King Charles Cavalier..I don't let the little one out by himself at night...not that I can really prevent his becoing dinner for the coyote should he really want him but I can try! I heard just yesterday that people in Arizona do not speed because of the photo enforcement. Is that really true?

Lois said...

Thanks for all of the interesting information Julie! We have coyotes around here too, but I have never seen one.

Sharon said...

Just recently I heard a story on National Public Radio about urban coyotes who are finding their way into backyards as their source of food in the preserve areas grows less and less. This guy has ventured pretty far afield.

Jarart said...

Those rascals get around, don't they? I love to hear them at night when they are on the run.

Dave-CostaRicaDailyPhoto.com said...

I am surprised at how any people above from different places have commented that they have coyotes also. I guess that shows how smart and adaptable they are that they can live in such diverse areas.

leeds in Yorkshire pictures - Paul said...

Great photo and info. I am with Bsquared amazed at the wildlife in some backyards.
I live in UK and doubt I will ever see a wild coyote or wolf, even on vacaction, pity though.

Meri said...

I used to hear coyotes at night and occasionally see them in the daytime. As the area where I live has gotten more populated, coyote sightings are rare.

Don and Krise said...

Well, after our coyote post the other day you mentioned you would have one. We couldn't get quite as close as you did. Nice shot Julie. I'm with Dave though....I keep looking for his "Acme Flying Bat Costume" box. (heh-heh)

Cezar and Léia said...

Very informative post Julie! I love wildlife!
Have a nice week and be always happy sweetie!
Léia :0

purrs and love
Luna(from Brazil)

Jacob said...

It could be that with all the development occurring the coyotes are finding food sources more and more scarce and thus they are moving in closer to civilization.

I think it might also be true that a hungry coyote could be dangerous as could a diseased one.

We don't want to lose you, Julie, so would you please roll your window up most of the way when you stop to have a conversation?

;-)

JM said...

A coyote in the yard! This is fantastic!!!

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