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Coyotes in Yellowstone National Park



Coyotes in Yellowstone National Park frequent roadsides, and fields adjacent to roadsides throughout the park. Although coyotes are not as numerous as buffaloes and elk in Yellowstone National Park, it doesn't take a lot of effort to see them while traveling in the park.

Horses and coyotes share one important trait, they are more numerous since the arrival of Columbus in 1492. Coyotes are native to North America, as the wolf was eliminated from the landscape; coyotes moved in to fill the void.

Camping in coyote territory provides nightly entertainment as the coyotes yip, bark and howl to greet the night. Bugling elk in the fall adds a counterpoint to the higher pitched coyotes.



coyote tail down near Roosevelt in Yellowstone National Park © Shawn Coggins

Coyote tail down near Roosevelt Junction in Yellowstone National Park © Shawn Coggins Coyotes are smaller then wolves and generally run with their tail down. Unlike a wolf which holds it's tail out straight. Don't use tail position as final judgment on which animal your observing.



logo raven Yellowstone Park © Shawn Coggins


coyote hunting rodents near West Entrance to Yellowstone National Park © Shawn Coggins

Roadside coyote, waiting for a tourist to hit something for it to eat in Yellowstone National Park, near West Entrance. Photo © Shawn Coggins.

"Utilizes almost any habitat, including urban areas, where prey is readily available. Prefers prairies, open woodlands, brushy or boulder-strewn areas. Coyote abundance is tied to food availability. Mainly nocturnal, true scavenger, territorial. Kills large animals by attacking the throat (FWP). Adaptable. Occupies diverse habitats." Note 01


coyote pouncing between Norris and West Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park © Shawn Coggins

Pouncing coyote between Norris and West Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park. Photo © Shawn Coggins Coyotes stand still locating rodents as much by hearing as by sight, then leap from a standstill into the air, hoping to capture their prey by surprise.


"Consumes a variety of foods and carrion. Will eat almost anything, plant or animal. Emphasizes small mammals, fawns, plants, birds, and invertebrates. During winter, often preys on deer. Commonly preys on domestic sheep (FWP). Rodents and rabbits imp. year round. Grasshoppers, crickets, fruits may be used in summer and fall. Food habits vary bet- ween seasons and areas. May take adult deer in winter. Young deer, elk, and pronghorn in spring." Note 01

coyote defending wolf kill from magpie in Yellowstone National Park © Shawn Coggins

Photo above is a coyote scavenging a wolf killed elk carcass in Yellowstone National Park.
© Shawn Coggins. The golden water is Floating Island Lake, located between Mammoth and Tower Falls.

YouTube animation of coyote eating wolf killed elk carcass inYellowstone National Park.



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Coyote near Roosevelt area in Yellowstone National Park. © Shawn Coggins Coyotes are now facing fierce competition for territory Yellowstone National Park from wolves.



References:
Note 01    Coyote — Canis latrans. ~ Montana Field Guide by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

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