September 25, 2019Canis latrans
Often confused with wolves, coyotes can be pack animals or solitary in nature. They typically hunt during the day, however they become more nocturnal when dwelling around humans. Coyotes are considered omnivores. They will eat human food, berries and insects as well as large ungulates, such as deer.
Coyotes hunting large ungulates will hunt in a pack cooperatively instead of individually. Flanking movements by one of coyotes in the pack have been documented (Bowyer, 1987). In their research, Bowyer describes two coyotes approaching a doe and chasing it into where a third coyote was hiding that could then attack the doe (deer) from the side. Bowyer notes this particular attempt failed to catch the doe, however. The author describes another instance where a similar approach worked, having a third coyote join a chase from the side of where a fawn was running.
There is a lot of discussion on whether or not coyotes play a role in deer population control. Evidence appears to qualify both sides of the debate. A study to review if interested:
- UCMP Berkeley
- Bekoff, M. Gese, E., ‘Coyote(Canis latrans)’
- Bowyer, R.. (1987). Coyote group size relative to predation on mule deer. Mammalia. 51. 515-526. 10.1515/mamm.19126.96.36.1995.
Image Credit: ArtTower
Written by Jordan Polaniec, who loves software. You can follow him on Twitter