by Carol Dunn
HUERFANO- Coyotes are just about as resourceful as a handyman in Huerfano County. They can find food under snow by using their keen nose, which evidently doesn’t freeze up or start dripping when it’s cold. They have their own language so they can communicate within the pack or to confuse rival packs, kind of like politicians in Washington DC.
You can hear them at dusk or dawn or when they find a rabbit that didn’t listen to his mom when she said, “Forget bowling, just stay home tonight.” If they don’t want to be heard, they can be very very sneaky. They can walk around on tiptoes to fool predators, making just a little more noise than a teenage boy coming into the house after curfew. To show off to the other males in the pack, coyotes deposit urine along the edges of their territory. The one that runs out of urine last is the winner. I’m not sure if teenage boys do that or not.
The reason you may never see a coyote den is because they sleep in holes, which is kind of like having a 20-year old mattress. However, a pile of chicken feathers can be a clue that a coyote once tarried there. You can be five miles away, watching a coyote with a pair of binoculars, and it will somehow “know” you are watching it and that you are probably dangerous. I don’t know how anyone ever shoots a coyote. By the time you go into the house to get your gun, the coyote is already in Canada and heading for the Arctic Circle.
A litter of coyote pups numbers between 5 and 19. They’re cute, but they are not as cute as baby chicks. And a grown up coyote is uglier than a grown up chicken (except in molting season). Add to that the fact that a chicken would never tuck its tail between its legs when it is scared, and you definitely have more points in the chicken’s column.
Coyotes do not get divorced; they mate for life. This may be a key to their survival because they do not have to keep dividing up their stuff and finding new dens. It could also explain why they are fidgety, can run 40 miles per hour and are good swimmers. If they mate with dogs or wolves, Thanksgiving dinner at the relatives’ can be a little tense, since wolves will eat coyotes.
Coyotes are not as indiscriminate as goats, but they will eat just about anything that moves (and even things that don’t): rabbits, lizards, mice, chickens, zucchini, turkeys, dogs, cats, muskrats, ducks, fruit, dog food, insects and hamburgers from fast food joints. However, they will not eat adobe bugs. Even a coyote has standards.