2013 Envirothon

How do people feel about coyote?
some see them as reward of nature; others are afraid; sportsman hate them because they kill too many animals; farmers lose livestock
What are other names for the coyote?
brush wolf; prairie wolf; coy-dog; eastern coyote
What is the scientific name for the coyote?
Canis latrans
Where is the eastern coyote found?
northeastern United States; southeastern Canada
What are the coyotes ancestors?
breeding between gray wolves and coyotes
What does DNA suggest?
hybridization between coyote and wolf
Who is the western cousin?
Western coyote
How is the eastern coyote different than the western coyote? (5)
different behavior; habitat use; pelt coloration; prey preferences; home range sizes
What size canine is the eastern coyote?
largest in PA
How long has eastern coyote been in eastern north America, according to fossil records?
since Pleistocene era; a million years ago
How long has this animal been common?
last 75-100 years
True or False: People may have confused the wolf with the coyote in the early 1900s.
True or False: the first coyote identified as an animal similar to what is the Eastern Coyote was killed in 1940.
In the late 1960s, what happened to the coyote population?
Influx of coyotes from the Catskill Mountains in NY entered northern PA, where they spread south
In the 1970s, where were the most coyotes?
Pocono Mountains
When did coyotes occupy the entire state?
Is the eastern coyote larger or smaller than the western?
much larger
How much do adult males weigh?
45 to 55 pounds
How much do females weigh?
35 to 40 pounds
How much were heaviest male and female?
Male: 62 pounds
female: 42 pounds
What are the pelage colors?
range from light blond, reddish blond, gray to dark brown washed with black, and black; most are gray
What dog do coyote coloring resemble?
German Shepherd
Describe coyote legs, cheeks, ears, tail and eyes
legs:gray, tan, reddish with black markings or lines on front legs
cheeks:reddish (also behind ears)
ears: erect
tail: bottle brush
eyes: normally yellow, but some are brown
Coyotes are monogamous. What does this mean?
they keep the same mate every year
What is the social unit of the coyote?
the parents and offspring
Do coyotes have extended families?
Yes, a group may consist of a pair of adults, transients (aged 6 – 18 months, predispersing sub-adults (less than a year), and non-breeding associates
Do coyotes share food?
Yes; coyotes living in a territory may provide food for a growing litter
How old are females when they breed?
females usually breed their second winter; some have bred earlier
When are litters born?
mid-April to early May
How large are the litters?
5 to 7 pups
Why are litters so large?
coyotes compensate for high mortality rate by having larger litters (many pups die)
Where are denning sites?
beneath overturned trees; piles of tree stumps; rock dens; dug out red fox dens; southerly exposures
Why are pups moved frequently?
to avoid detection
When do pups disperse?
during October, when they are 6 months old
How far do pups go?
30-50 miles is common, but can be up to 100 miles
How do coyotes communicate and why?
yips, barks and howls
sometimes to assemble into larger packs
Describe hunting
sometimes in a pack; other times alone; sometimes with one or two others; often during daylight hours (morning preferred)
When does most howling take place?
at any time, but mostly at night
What senses are the most keen?
smell, hearing, alertness
The coyote has adapted to a wide variety of habitats. Where are they found?
heavily forested northeast and northcentral areas; dairy and cropland; even around heavily populated areas like Philadelphia and Harrisburg
What habitat is preferred?
brushy cover, such as clearcuts; often live along edges between forests and agricultural areas where prey is abundant
What is the main food in the coyote diet?
wide variety; small mammals (mice, voles); deer is the dominant food; large number of deer die in roads, from starvation, and other dead deer
Besides deer, what do coyotes eat?
wide variety; small mammals (mice, voles);rabbits and woodchucks; birds; plants; fruits
What livestock do coyotes eat?
sheep, chickens, ducks, goats and domestic rabbits; can be significant in certain areas
Where are coyotes most common?
although found throughout PA, most common in the northern half
What was the total population in 1995?
15,000 to 20,000
What about people hunting coyotes?
the ‘harvest’ in the early 1990s was about 6000; incidental to turkey, bear and deer hunting; coyotes are also trapped
What is the trend for coyote populations?
continue to expand, despite man’s attempt to control them