I am a firm believer that every living species on earth serves a purpose. From the dreadful vultures of the sky to the flesh eating sharks of the sea…and yes, even the wily Coyote serves a purpose.
The coyote, also known as the American jackal, brush wolf, or the prairie wolf, is a species of canine found throughout North and Central America, ranging from Panama in the south, north through Mexico, and into the United States, and Canada. They thrive in the desert areas surrounding Rocky Point and especially in the desert between the border and Rocky Point. You will encounter one at least once every four trips down from the States.
These canines are very social animals with strong family bonds. Both males and females help to raise and feed the pups. In addition, coyotes often hunt and travel either in pairs or in small packs. They communicate to each other with scent marking, body language, and a wide variety of vocalizations. Their yelps and howls can often be heard at dusk and dawn or throughout the night if you live near Competition Hill in Cholla Bay. Their scientific name, Canis Latrans, even means “barking dog” in Latin!
Coyotes have grayish-brown to reddish-brown fur. They are typically 32 to 37 in long and weigh 20 to 50 lbs. The omnivorous predator has a varied diet hunting for rabbits, rodents, fish, frogs, and even deer. They also eat fruit, grass and their important role is eating carrion (rotting meat). Scavenging is a vital role the coyote plays in the circle of life within the Rocky Point region. I usually spy coyotes walking along the shore at low tides in the early morning. They merely pick up carcasses on the rocks or beaches of any creature that has been left for the pickings. If the coyotes don’t get them the birds will.
I do not like the stories I hear every once in a while when a coyote runs off with somebody’s pet. My advice is; do what it takes to protect your pet if you live among coyotes. Same thing goes, for example, if you live among bears, know they are around and prevent your pets from encountering them. They are one of the most abundant and adaptive mammals in North America. All I can say is, coyotes are here to stay in the Rocky Point area, so protect your pets by keeping an eye on them at all times.
Coyotes are excellent swimmers. They have been able to colonize islands and escape from predators by swimming out in oceans and lakes.
Coyotes can breed with both domestic dogs and wolves. A dog-coyote mix is called a “Coydog.”
In order to not get attacked by predators and to sneak up on prey, coyotes often walk on their toes to make as little noise as possible.
Coyotes have a very keen sense of smell. They can even detect prey scurrying under snow or sand.
In addition to howling, coyotes will yip, bark or yelp in a variety of ways to communicate with each other over long distances.
Coyotes can be very cunning. One coyote might jump around to distract some prey, while another coyote sneaks up and pounces on the animal.
Coyotes in residential areas are very sleek and agile. They can hop on top of a 6-foot block fence with one leap and walk along it like a cat. I know, I have seen it in my own backyard in Phoenix and throughout the Rocky Point residential areas.
A Coyote’s winter coat can be so thick that it’s hard to distinguish from a wolf.
A ‘Red Wolf’ is a Coyote/Wolf mix. They were almost extinct in the U.S., but were brought back and now are found mainly in the Southeastern United States.