This is Maddy speaking
- Coyotes are opportunists, both as hunters and as scavengers. They eat any small animal they can capture, including mice, rats, gophers, mountain beavers, rabbits, and squirrels, also snakes, lizards, frogs, fish, birds, and carrion (animal carcasses). Grass, fruits, and berries are eaten during summer and fall.
- Grasshoppers and other insects are important to juvenile coyotes learning the stalk-and pounce method of hunting.
- Pairs of coyotes or family groups using the relay method pursue small deer and antelope. These mammals are important food in winter; fawns may be eaten in spring.
- Coyotes eat wild species, but they are known to eat pet food, garbage, garden crops, livestock, poultry, and pets (mostly cats).
- Coyotes occasionally kill domestic dogs (and foxes) that they consider territorial intruders. Coyotes are also very protective of their young and will attack dogs that get too close to their den and pups. Note: The list of killers of domestic cats and dogs includes other dogs and cats, vehicles, bears, cougars, bobcats, foxes, disease, and furious neighbors!
- Most hunting activity takes place at night. Undisturbed and hungry coyotes will hunt during daylight hours, and may be seen following farm machinery, catching voles and other small prey.
Sightings of coyotes are most likely during the hours just after sunset and before sunrise. To view a coyote, locate a well-used trail and wait patiently from an area overlooking a canyon, ravine, or other area. A coyote will often come down the trail the same time every morning or evening. Also, you could watch a coyote’s feeding area, such as a livestock or big game carcass.
By six months of age, pups have permanent teeth and are nearly fully grown. At about this time, female coyotes train their offspring to search for food, so it is not unusual to observe a family group.
Never approach an occupied coyote den. A mother’s protective instincts can make her dangerous if she has young in or nearby the den. Den sites, and coyote activity, should be observed with binoculars or a spotting scope from a distance that does not visibly disturb the animals. Unfamiliar or new human activity close to the den, especially within one-quarter mile, will often cause coyotes to move, particularly if the pups are older, if the adults see you, or if the den is in an open area with little protective cover.