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Northeastern Coyote

When you hear a pack of coyotes howling at (the moon? each other?) in the middle of the night, the hair stands up on your skin and you feel like you’re in Dracula. It’s freaky! Even when you “get used to it!”

When I’ve spotted them once or twice in person, I have to say I think the coloration of their coat is actually quite beautiful.

“Virginia coyotes are actually a hybrid mixed with wolf, according to studies following their migrations to the East Coast. Data published in 2014 regarding the northeastern coyote indicates that it is 64% coyote, 13% gray wolf, 11% eastern wolf, and 10% domestic dog — not to mention quite a bit larger than its western counterparts.” From wydaily.com

They are typically nocturnal, although if you see them during the day that’s not a sign of rabies. They might be looking for food or a good den spot!

Coyotes weren’t introduced to the east to control deer populations, they actually migrated here and were first spotted in western Virginia in the 1950s. These days researchers have found that coyotes don’t actually kill a lot of deer (although they might take a fawn). Instead they are more likely to scavenge roadkill or carcasses in the wild.

Alternate Names: Eastern Coyote, Coywold, Southern Tweed Wolf
Size: 50-80 lbs
Description: Erect ears, bushy tail, narrow chest. It's fur has four color phases, ranging from dark brown to blond or reddish blond, with gray-brown the most common, and reddish legs, ears and flanks.
All text and photos copyright © 2022 Middle Way Nature Reserve, unless noted.
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