Coyotes

(Deb) Welcome back to Around Kansas. (Frank) Should I howl? (Deb) Yea, you go for that. You go for that, you go for that. Do your best Wolfman there. (Frank) Yea, well not Wolfman, Coyoteman. (Deb) Coyoteman. (Frank) We’re in Kansas after all. (Deb) That’s right. Coyoteman. You know we got rid of all the wolves, so all we’ve got left are the coyotes. So, I had never seen a coyote, nor had I heard a coyote till I came to Kansas. And honestly living in Topeka you don’t hear too many either. So, the first time I actually heard coyotes was at Fort Robinson, Nebraska. And we were in the campground there and it was just about dusk. And all of a sudden those howls set up and I’m like holy cow you know the whole Sioux Nation has us surrounded or something, I mean what? And my husband said, oh those are the coyotes. And now I have been outside of town, you don’t have to go far, what ten feet out of Topeka, and you can hear the coyotes in certain neighborhoods. And they are getting closer and closer like a lot of wild animals to urban areas. You know bears, mountain lions, everything is kind of coming into urban areas. (Frank) Here’s a fact, you know Wiley Coyote that was always after the Roadrunner? (Deb) Yea. (Frank) A coyote can actually outrun a roadrunner. (Deb) I did not know that. (Frank) Yes. (Deb) Really? (Frank) Yea. (Deb) Did you time ’em or what? (Frank) No. I read that on the internet. (Deb) He read, Abraham Lincoln said everything you see on the internet is true, so it must be. Let’s take a look at some more coyotes. The first coyote I saw in Kansas was February in the Cimarron Grasslands in the southwestern corner of the state. The sky was gray, nearly black, and the grass was like gold. The air was heavy with the scent of sage when the creature was loping through the waving grass, as if on cue, as if had just been added to this iconic Kansas landscape. There is hardly a place in Kansas where you won’t hear the plaintive, lonely call of the coyote. That most western of animals makes his home virtually anywhere, even in the city limits of large towns. They are incredibly adaptable. Residents of Wichita were horrified a couple of years ago when a pack of coyotes carried away their small dog. Wildlife officials tell us they are deathly afraid of humans, but yes, small mammals should watch out. Coyotes sometimes live alone, but often in pairs or packs. Home ranges can be as large as 25 square miles. They are vocal and shortly after nightfall may howl to indicate their location, claim their territory, reinforce social bonds or simply because they enjoy howling. Pairs sometimes mate for life. Their den sites include cavities under rock ledges, hollow logs, shrub thickets and dens abandoned by other mammals. They may use several dens when rearing pups. Litters of 4 to 7 pups are born in spring. They can live up to 10 years in the wild. Coyotes are opportunistic, eating pretty much what is available. The predators hunt from dusk to dawn for rabbits, mice, rats, squirrels and ground nesting birds. They also eat plant matter, including fruits and berries. They will scavenge dead livestock and kill poultry, small livestock, cats and small dogs. They are smaller than their cousin the wolf, but sources say they can in fact breed with dogs, which results in a coydog, which might be more aggressive than the simple coyote, and may, in fact, be responsible for attacks on livestock. In many American Indian traditions, the coyote is a trickster, playing pranks on humans or his fellow animals.

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