Sighting of Coyote Family Brings Joy and Excitement
Earlier this year, the WCC observed a family of coyotes on our wildlife cameras nearly every single night. Through close observation, we got to “know” these individuals quite well and could reliably differentiate them from one another in their photos and videos. Most frequently spotted were the breeding pair – a tan and gray male with a long bushy tail, and a thick-coated blonde female whose tail tapered to a distinct point.
Like wolves, coyotes breed during the early winter months of January – March. With a gestation period of about 63 days, we can expect pups to be born in April and May. As spring progressed, we began to notice that the female was becoming more and more plump. She was pregnant. Knowing that the length of a coyotes’ gestation is just two months long, we closely observed the photos we captured and waited. The group used the WCC grounds regularly, and we would capture them on camera each night passing back and forth likely hunting for food. As time went on, the female grew larger – and a bit slower. Then one day in mid-April she disappeared after making one last painstaking amble past our camera.
She wasn’t spotted on the remote cameras for five days, which for her was quite unusual. When she finally reappeared on video, she looked thinner and even a bit more energetic. She’d given birth somewhere nearby. We hoped to spot her pups on camera once they were big enough to follow their parents and explore, but for six months we had no sign of them. Even the adults’ appearances became sparser.
But just recently, we finally caught a presumed pup on camera! Similar to its mother this one has quite a light coat as well, though much fluffier. At about 6.5 months old, the juvenile is nearly fully grown now.
This young coyote will likely stick around with mom and dad for the next few months, and may disperse late next year if it hopes to find a mate of its own. If not, it will remain with its family and help its parents raise future its future siblings.
Hopefully we’ll be seeing more of this growing family.