It was early and so the lighting was bad and, therefore, so were my photos. However, when I got home and examined the photos, I could see that this coyote had a wound on his rump. That this coyote is at the bottom of his family’s hierarchal structure tells me something — sibling rivalry put him there this fall. That he is regularly bullied by his older sibling who drives him away, tells me more. That coyotes nip or bite dogs on the rump — as their strongest warning messages to dogs, to let dogs know both who is boss and to get them to move on — tells me all the rest.

More than likely, this coyote has been bitten by his more dominant sibling to tell him to move on. Maybe the dispute was only about immediate proximity, or a piece of food. But maybe it was about ownership and use of the larger territory that they both share. The bitten coyote has been a loner for a while. The dominant sibling and mother are almost always together and may even be becoming a “pair.”  The lone coyote, in being driven away by the brother, is thus also kept distant from the mother. The alpha mother coyote is still at the top of the family pack, but she may have no say in how those below her work out their own hierarchy.

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