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Sunday, October 7, 2012


On 6 October 2012, I came upon a Coyote (Canis latrans) hunting along the side of the road.  Although more common elsewhere, sightings of Coyotes have only recently become regular on Bodega Head.  I've received many different reports of them during the last few months, but it took a while for me to catch up with one when I had a camera nearby.

Here are a few still shots.  Note the lanky appearance and overall reddish blonde coloration.  Coyotes are much larger than foxes, weighing 20-50 pounds compared to the 6.5-15 pounds of a Gray Fox.

The long, pointed nose is distinctive.

The tail has a black tip and a black spot near the base (see below).  Coyotes often run with their tails down, while foxes hold their tails up.  The ears are large, with reddish fur behind.

To compare with the other local canid, review the post about Gray Foxes from 10 September 2012. 

And here's a short video showing a sequence of photos when the Coyote became alert to possible prey, stalked closer, sat back on its hindlegs, and then pounced!  [Video is best when viewed at smaller size.]


Anonymous said...

nice touch with the video !! c

Claudia said...

Despite their economic impact on sheep ranching, I am solefully happy that coyotes are back and a part of our local landscape again.

My understanding is that coyote poisoning severely reduced their numbers. I have always wondered if their absence explains my albeit qualitative and subjective observations on the high populations of other "mesopredators" such as skunk and opossum upon my arrival in Sonoma county. This has been shown to be true in Southern California -- that the presence of coyotes depresses populations of mesopredators. To me, Sonoma also has an astoundingly large number of turkey vultures - which could be explained by the high populations of mesopredators. All conjecture and questions in search of a study.

Hail the return of the coyote!

Alice Chan said...

We greatly enjoyed watching a coyote yesterday afternoon near the Bodega Head trail. For about 15 minutes, we observed him (her?) rummaging around in the brush, peeing on something, coming to attention at something he heard near his feet, and just generally going about his business on that lovely afternoon, all the while ignoring a small herd of deer right near him. It was a treat to see!