In our last blog post, we talked about baby wildlife. But what about the babies of the wild animal most often talked about in Weston??? If you guessed Coyote, then you guessed right. Or you read the title of the post, but we’ll give you the credit!
Breeding and Litters
Coyote breeding season is from February to March. Only the alpha male and alpha female of a pack breed. They only breed once per year, so if it doesn’t take that’s it until next year.
The female coyote’s gestation period is only 63 days. A baby coyote is called a pup and the group of pups is called a litter. The average litter size ranges from 4 to 7 pups but can be larger or smaller. Litter sizes are based on the current population and food supply. If the coyote population is large, there will be fewer pups born and if it’s small, more will be born. Sadly, most of these pups will not survive their first year of life.
Denning and Shadowing
Contrary to popular belief, the only time coyotes stay in a den is during pupping season. The pups will stay in the den until their eyes open at about 12 days old. While mom coyote is in the den taking care of her babies, dad coyote will bring food to the den site for her. He will also help protect the den from predators by standing watch. This practice is called shadowing and has been reported by trail users during this time of the year. If you are shadowed by a coyote, consider that it may just be a protective dad. The best practice is to leave the area and choose a new walking area until the pups have left the den so as not to disturb them.
Learning the Hunt
In about six weeks, pups will begin traveling short distances with the adults. By summer’s end, pups will be hunting on their own and will eventually find their own territories.
Living with Coyotes
Did you miss the presentation about coyotes by Project Coyote's John Maguranis? Weston Media Center
didn't and lucky you, you can watch it online
In all seriousness, this is a fantastic presentation that aims to help people better understand coyotes and their behaviors.