March 20, 2009

Coyote Ugly? I Don't Think So.

Today's blogging is in anticipation of our upcoming camping trip (March 27 - 29). We are excited about this trip for several reasons. (1) This trip is going to be a full weekend. All of our prior adventures have been over-nighters. (2) We finally talked our good friend K-dog into joining us. We have been working on bring ing him back to the wild for many months now. (3) We are returning to Foster Farm (of course Brent will be there, too).

For the faithful followers, you might recall prior blogging of our last trip to Foster Farm, one of my personal favorite adventures.
Foster Farm, Loan Oak, TX
Foster Farm in Retrospect

My mind sentimentally turns to one of my favorite experiences from our last visit to Foster Farm -- the evening serenade from the chorus of coyotes. It was a grounding and unique experience for this city girl.

So, in preparation for our upcoming visit to Foster Farm, I put my fingers to the walking via wikipedia and learned more about these canine cousins. Since I know that some of you probably think my coyote reverence is crazy, I have decided to share some fun facts.

  • Coyotes grow to be between 19 and 45 pounds with larger sub-species mostly in the northeast United States. For a frame of reference, my dogs are about 75 pounds each.
  • Coyotes have a 90% carnivorous diet, made up mostly of small mammals (filed mice, groundhogs, rabbits, squirrels), as well as some snakes and large insects. Even in packs, they are unlikely to prey on animals larger then they are (with the exception of some livestock).
  • Coyotes by nature are timid of humans, and will avoid them. As such, coyote attacks on humans are rare and uncommon.
  • Hearing a coyote is much more common than seeing one. The calls a coyote makes are high-pitched and variously described as howls, yips, yelps and barks. These calls may be a long rising and falling note (a howl) or a series of short notes (yips). These calls are most often heard at dusk or night, and are most common during the spring mating season.
Given that coyotes are nocturnal and naturally timid of humans and larger animals (i.e. my dogs), we are unlikely to see them during this or any camping adventure. The only evidence of their presence is the chorus of howls and yips, making it that much more revered and treasured.