Mom Keeps Vigilant While Youngsters Play

There appear to be very definite get-together times and maybe even several get-together places for the members of a coyote family. These get-togethers happen after a period of separation and lone activity, and appear to occur at least once in the morning and once in the evening. These sessions begin with intense affectionate greetings, including lots of kisses, body contact, jumping around and very often squeals of delight. During these group times, the coyotes play and just enjoy each other’s company. They may hang out together to watch or monitor activity in a park. The session then ends with one and then two coyotes going off in their own direction — either to hunt alone or rest alone. I have seen the entire group go off together to another location to monitor or hunt, but eventually the individuals end up going their own individual ways.

During these meetings, while the younger coyotes are playing, their mom normally watches them. She is in charge. Life for 18 month-old pups is still carefree. They surrender all vigilance and control to Mom, whereas life for her consists of knowing everything there is to know about coyote existence. She keeps watch for them and is prepared to defend them. How long will this go on? It is my thought that as long as she is there for them, they will continue in this mode: “It is not until you have to pay the bills that you pay them.” The younger coyotes still have a pup’s existence which is carefree, fun and happy, and it includes lots of displays of affection. They can take care of themselves by hunting and fleeing from dogs, but they don’t seem to have the whole picture yet. These observations are the same ones made by Charles Wood in his posting  “Waiting” on September 4.

Mom very often seems to be gallivanting with the youngsters — she often is right in the middle of their activity. But upon closer examination, although she is there, she is not being rough and tumble or carefree at all. She soon tends to duck out from their activity and to sit off to the side to keep watch over their safety. They know this. Mom has her job to do, which involves being totally aware of the bigger picture. The younger ones are not there yet, even at 18 months of age.

Although the mother coyote normally just “watches” the younger ones, I have noticed her try to control the direction of their movements, attempting to lead them in a certain direction. Sometimes they respond right off, but sometimes she resigns herself to settling down until they are ready to come along with her. And sometimes she even abandons her effort and lets them handle themselves.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s