Clever Coyote

A coyote in Arizona, by Flickr user Marya.

At the Cove, we know there are coyotes around because of the scat they leave behind. They’re very good at being secretive, and sightings are rare – but recently, I lucked out and spotted an older pup! It was so exciting!

Coyote pups, image by John Harrison.

Coyotes are one of my favorite animals, despite their bad reputation. They’re not as aggressive as we tend to believe they are, and prefer to stay away from people if they can. This doesn’t mean they’ll stay away from our communities; on the contrary, modern human habitat is quite coyote-friendly! But as far as human contact is concerned, they’re wary of us: in 40 years, there were 160 human-coyote conflicts reported, which comes out to around 4 per year. Did you know there are 4 million dog bites reported in the U.S. each year? By comparison, humans are responsible for more than 100,000 coyote deaths each year. Coyotes are also responsible for much less damage on ranches and farms than they are accused of, and attempts at getting rid of them actually trigger behaviors that cause them to breed more.

Coyotes are intelligent and curious. Sometimes this gets them into trouble because inquisitiveness can be misconstrued as boldness or aggressiveness. They also have very strong family units and seem to “mourn,” or go into a state of chaos, when a family member passes away.

An illustration from a 1917 book by Frances Jenkins Olcott. In this Caddo story, Coyote tries to persuade Opposum to give him some persimmons.

Many First Nation tribes, including those local to the Cove (Warm Springs, Wasco, and Paiute), viewed the coyote as a trickster figure, grandfather figure, or a right-hand helper of the Creator. Coyote was so good at fooling people that he often fooled himself in the process!

You can tell a coyote track by a couple of clues: animals in the dog family do not have retractable claws, so you can see the tips of the claws above the toes. Also, the whole track is oval shaped, as opposed to cat tracks that are more circular. See if you can notice the 5-armed star that’s colored light gray in between the toe pads in the image below – this is another helpful way to recognize a coyote track.

Coyote track, from Wild Things Unlimited.

Coyote track, from Wild Things Unlimited.

All creatures have their place in the ecosystem, even if they get a bad reputation. Will you give the coyote a chance? When you’re at the Cove, keep an eye out on the Tam-A-Lau trail for tracks and scat from this clever critter!

About coveranger

"One's happiness depends less on what he knows than on what he feels." - Liberty Hyde Bailey

Posted on August 18, 2013, in Wildlife and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Great photo’s, thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

The Cove Rattler

A RANGER BLOG FOR THE COVE PALISADES STATE PARK

Columbia River GORGEOUS

Ranger's blog for state parks in the Columbia River Gorge

NAI Region 10

NAI R10 is a nonprofit professional organization serving NAI members in Alaska, Yukon, Alberta, British Columbia, Idaho, Washington and Oregon. Our mission is to inspire leadership and excellence to advance heritage interpretation as a profession.

A RANGER BLOG FOR THE COVE PALISADES STATE PARK

High Desert Musings

A RANGER BLOG FOR THE COVE PALISADES STATE PARK

Oregon Observatory RSS

A RANGER BLOG FOR THE COVE PALISADES STATE PARK

Nature Into Action

Connecting with the Natural World

STEAM - EDUCATION

Science rocks!

Pristine farm experience

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Northwest Renewable News

Your Daily Source for Renewable Energy News in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana & Northern California

Volunteer Voice

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department

Cottonwood Canyon State Park

Help make an Oregon State Park

Your Parks "Go Guide"

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department

%d bloggers like this: