The sight and sound of coyotes should be something North Americans are accustomed to, considering our long-standing relationship with this adaptable ‘yipping dog.’ From American Indians, to pioneers, to modern-day man, the coyote has been revered, feared, despised, persecuted, and admired for its ability to survive.
Coyotes, also known as song-dog, yipping dog, little wolf, prairie wolf, and barking dog, have adapted well to many environments. Their litany of names reflects the various cultures that have experienced coyotes.
Once found only on the Great Plains, coyotes have extended their range to include Central America, Mexico, the United States (except Hawaii), Canada, and the Arctic. Coyotes are not native to Ohio. In fact, coyotes showed up in 1919 and can now be found just about everywhere from urban to suburban to rural places.
Coyotes are both predators and scavengers, and mainly nocturnal. As omnivores (eating both animals and plants), they take full advantage of any available food source. That includes everything from pet food put outside for pets to fruit from domestic fruit trees. A coyote’s diet consists of rodents, rabbits, carrion, livestock and poultry, vegetation, miscellaneous animals, and a few insects.
You are most likely to hear the howls, yips, or barks of a coyote rather than see one of these elusive animals. The first howling season of the year occurs January through March, the breeding season. The second howling season, when the adults are calling weaned pups back to their rendezvous point, occurs during September and October.
Here are some great photos from National Geographic.