|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – April 2008
Unlike their cougar and wolf cousins, these cats and dogs are (often) easier to spot.
This cunning canine finds refuge from national parks to Central Park.
Supremely adaptable, coyotes range throughout North America, with more than 2,000 found in greater Chicago alone. They flourish in wild areas where wolves are absent, and can live in forests, grasslands, deserts, swamps, and near many metropolitan areas.
These nocturnal canines dig burrows or enlarge badger dens. Breeding pairs remain monogamous for several years, producing annual spring litters of six blind, limp-eared pups. Coyotes are the loudest of North America's wild mammals, and communicate with pack members using yelps, falsetto howls, and short, sharp yaps.
Coyotes are agile runners, reaching speeds up to 40 miles per hour and leaping distances of 14 feet. Primarily carnivores, they augment their diet of voles, rabbits, squirrels, birds, and deer with occasional reptiles, carrion, and garbage. They rely on sight to catch movement, but depend on their sharp hearing and smell to find and track prey.
Less likely to form packs than wolves, coyotes hunt alone, in pairs, or in family groups. They occasionally team up to tackle larger prey, like chasing a deer to exhaustion. To trap marmots and badgers, one coyote will dig into a burrow while another blocks the escape hole.