Have you ever heard the call of the coyote as you watched your favorite western show depict a night scene on the open prairie? Or perhaps you have actually heard coyotes sing in chorus in the evening hours. One coyote usually starts with a series of short barks, gradually increasing in volume until they merge into a long yell. Other coyotes will join in the chorus and continue for a minute or two. After this a short pause will come only to have the chorus start again.
Apart from the domestic dog, the coyote is the only member of the dog family that habitually barks. Coyotes look like small tawny wolves. Their tail is bushy with a black tip, drooping low behind the hind legs. This makes the coyote look humble and sneaky at the same time. Their weight usually is between 30-50 pounds. A coyote measures about 4 feet from nose to tail tip.
The coyote is intelligent, cunning and adaptable. While other animals have been retreating, the coyote has been extending its range. Once found mostly on plains and in woods of the western part of North America, they are now seen from north Alaska to Costa Rica, and on the Eastern coast as far north as Maine, and as far south as Florida.
The coyote is considered an enemy by man and a threat to livestock. Because of this, many thousands are killed a year. This does not stop the coyote. They flourish today, and their survival may be in part due to their endurance and adaptability.
Their "reputation" as killers of livestock may be more fiction than truth. A coyote is a scavenger, which means he will eat food which is already dead. Often a coyote is blamed for killing livestock when in reality he has only eaten what was already dead. Coyotes will eat whatever is most available. If rabbits are plenty, the coyote will not bother the hen house. He will eat almost anything: insects, birds, trout, mice and rodents, rabbits, crayfish. Sometimes they will eat large amounts of vegetation, including prickly pears, grass and nuts.
Coyotes do not travel in packs. They usually hunt singly or in pairs. You may see a deer being chased by coyotes in a relay, the one coyote taking over the chase when the other tires. The coyote will hunt as a family so the pups can learn to hunt for themselves.
Coyotes are model parents. The male and female usually mate for life. Their den is usually made in a burrow abandoned by a smaller animal. The coyote will enlarge it to form a tunnel up to 30 feet long. It will end in a nesting chamber that is kept perfectly clean. Sometimes, however, nests are made on the surface. After new pups are born, they stay underground for over a month. The father brings both mother and pups their food. When the pups are old enough, they go out with the family to learn to hunt. When they are old enough to hunt for themselves they usually move off to a territory all their own. This is usually because a certain piece of land can support only so many coyotes.
The cunning coyote has a special place in Yahweh's world. He helps to keep nature in balance. If he were temporarily removed we would see a dramatic increase in the number of insects and rodents. Measures would have to be taken to keep the pests in control. This is a job the coyote does naturally. Without our friend the coyote around, marshes and streams would become polluted with carrion (dead animals). We need the coyote to help keep the water pure.
The coyote is really an amazing animal, serving a good purpose. He did not just happen by chance or "evolve," but was part of Yahweh's divine plan. If you eliminate the coyote, nature is out of balance. The coyote is a miraculous work of Yahweh. He is to be observed and appreciated for the role he plays in Yahweh's creation. I am glad that Yahweh made him just the way He did!
These are a coyote's paw prints.
Project Idea - Family Fun
If you live near a farm or woods, perhaps your family can take an evening stroll and listen for the sounds of the howling coyotes as well as listen and identify other "sounds of the night."