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Coyote

 
Physical Characteristics:
Coyotes look like medium-sized dogs (see photos) with a black stripe often running down the back and through the tail. They can weigh from 20-50 pounds as adults; desert-dwelling coyotes tend to be smaller than their arctic cousins. Males are larger and heavier than females.

 

They can run at speeds of up to 40 mph for short distances and can jump up to 12 feet.
Coyotes, like dogs, use body language for communication, including the large, bushy tail. The tail becomes more bushy and the tail may be held straight out when the coyote is indicating aggression or fear. Coyotes also have a distinctive howl, consisting of yips and yodels.


 

Geographic Range: Historic, recent past, and current.
The coyote originated in North America. They originally ranged throughout the northwestern U.S. and Canada. Today, they are found throughout Central America, all of the contiguous United States, and Canada except for the Arctic Circle. This makes it the most widely-distributed carnivore in the Western Hemisphere.

Previous to the 1900s, coyotes were found chiefly to the west of the Mississippi. In the last 200 years, the coyote has extended its range to include the eastern and southern United States. This expansion in habitat has apparently been brought about by the actions of humankind, who have both opened up dense forestland through timbering, creating open habitats preferred by coyotes, and have exterminated many of the coyote's chief competitors, including wolves. In addition, predator control techniques may have produced a surviving sample of coyotes that are alert, wary, intelligent, and adaptable.


 

Behavior
Hunting:
Coyotes are primarily carnivorous, but will eat fruit and other vegetable matter as well as scavenging. A large part of their diet consists of small mammals such as mice and ground squirrels. They also eat birds, lizards, snakes, and even insects and domestic pets when they are presented with the opportunity. They typically hunt alone or in pairs, sometimes in family units or pack-like associations.

Hunting often occurs along established routes, which are marked with urine and scat left directly in the trail. Hunting also takes place around the den during the spring.

When hunting small animals in snow or brush, the coyote may rely upon its sense of smell, suddenly leaping into the air and coming down with both front paws and nose held together when the prey is located. Coyotes have been observed chasing deer in turns until it tires, and a single coyote may attempt to take down a fawn. Coyotes may form partnerships to flush prey out of heavy brush as well, then take turns catching and consuming the fleeing animals. Most of the hunting is done during the hours on either side of dawn and dusk and during periods at night, with periods of inactivity interspersed throughout. All-in-all, hunting methodology and prey taken is variable depending on habitat.


Denning and Family Life:
Coyotes choose a single mate, although they will often take another if the chosen one dies. Females may use old dens dug by other animals or dig their own, or they may use dens for generations, passed on from mother to daughter. The den usually has several entrances.

After mating in the winter (January through March), pups are born in April or May. Pups are much like domestic dog puppies, completely helpless. Average litter size is six. The father provides food but doesn't enter the den. The pups stay in the den until about 10 weeks old. Families hunt together through the summer, after which males leave the family and establish their own territories close by. At least one female pup often stays with the parents and provides help with the next season's litter.

Most pups don't survive: up to 70% die within the first year (and 80% of those are killed by human beings). Sexual maturity is reached by 12 months. If the pups live to adulthood, they can live up to 10 years in the wild (they've lived up to 18 years in captivity). Coyotes can mate with other canids, but there's evidence that, while the offspring is fertile, fecundity (the number of young produced) is low. That's why there are still plenty of genetically-pure coyotes around.

Coyotes are not endangered. Their natural enemies include mountain lions and more recently man.

 

 

 

 


 
 
 Rasor Clean Up

First Rasor Road desert clean up.

 
 
 
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Fallen Friends

Don - Keeper of the Rasor Ranch

 

 

 
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 Historic Points

Rasor Road Mega-phone / the Mojave desert mystery

Desert grave of Delores Holland at Rasor Road, Near the old RR town of Crucero

Mystery jet fighter fuel tank found at Rasor Road

Old wells at Rasor Road

Soda Dry Lake off of Zzyzx Road at Rasor Road California Desert. The Mojave Road crosses though it.