Health Problems

Until now, our coyotes have always appeared extremely healthy.

Now, however, a coyote in one of our parks has mange and intestinal parasites as indicated by bare patches on its neck and continual scooting on the ground.

I know of one mother coyote who has had litters for the past two years, but not this year.

And another coyote is looking extremely thin irregardless of seasonal shedding. Please note the alarming difference between the second photo above, and the last two photos. These photos are of the same coyote. I’ve heard you can identify a coyote by its tail — these photos show that you cannot necessarily do so. The difference in lighting conditions accounts for some of the variation in hue — but not for the look of emaciation. The second photo was taken within the last few days — this is how this coyote appears now. The last two photos were taken 7 and 5 months ago. Of course, maybe the extreme healthiness of this coyote half a year ago is what should be alarming to us: I’ve never seen such a healthy looking wild coyote! It was not until I noticed such a drastic change  that health questions have come to my mind.

What is going on here? Are these normal health problems for urban coyotes? Can they recover on their own? Could humans be causing them? I was wondering if the poisons — those used by our Parks and Rec Department to control and destroy plants they don’t want — have been compromising the immune systems of these animals? I know that our park service uses poisons routinely, and I know that park volunteers have been handed bottles of Round-Up which they use at their own discretion and without supervision. Might poisons be affecting our coyotes either directly or indirectly? For instance, what is the effect of these poisons on the voles and gophers and even snails, all of which coyotes eat. It would be helpful to find out what health problems we humans are causing, and what we can prevent. The scat I’m finding seems to be plentiful and very furry — this is what it should be. I’m hoping to find out more.

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