A New Drama: Being More Evasive & Peripheral

For many months now, the young coyotes I observe — they are 18 months old — appear to sleep separately from their parents, though at times the younger coyotes may hunker down together. So, in the morning, when a young coyote sees its parent, it always runs up to her, super-enthusiastically. There is an intense greeting with kisses, hugs and falling over each other. The affection is wonderful to see.

BUT, today it was different. It reminded me that young coyotes grow up and things do change. We will have to wait to see how temporary or permanent any new behaviors become.

Today, one of the younger coyotes was on a path when the mother coyote appeared about 100 feet away. I watched, baffled, as the younger coyote looked at the mother and then looked away, and continued walking away, almost disdainfully. After seeing him, the mother lay down next to the path — she seemed to have been expecting this response. She occasionally looked in the younger coyote’s direction. He remained far off, occasionally looking at her. Hmmm. I wondered what was going on.

Then, the second young coyote, his sibling, came up, and as I would have expected, ran up to his mother with kisses and hugs. At this point the “evasive” coyote slowly came forward, very tentatively, and joined in, but only for a moment, and always with his ears down or back. He seemed to want to join in, but was not in there whole-heartedly. He soon moved off to the side with ears down and watched. Why this new “off to the side” behavior? I wondered if there had been a fight with either his mother or sibling. Or, was a hierarchy establishing itself in a big way, or might there have been a severe disciplining from his mother. It was new behavior.

I have noticed that the other sibling, the one who has been showing signs of being the dominant of the two young pups, continually has gone after the more withdrawn coyote. The last five photos of this series shows this. No moves lately have been instigated by the meeker coyote towards the sibling, though he often approaches his mother for the affection he wants as he tries to get away from the more dominant sibling.

Ever since I made this observation, I’ve noticed this withdrawn coyote more off on its own, more separated from the mom and the other sibling — This is not always so, but more so than in the past. Is the hierarchy firming up? Will one of the coyotes soon move on? Or is this behavior just temporary, the result of a recent spat?

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