Feeding and Sharing!

feeding from the other's mouth

Both of these coyotes were together, chewing on some found food on a patch of dried grasses.  As I watched, I was amazed to see one of them approach the other, insert it’s muzzle into the corner of the other’s mouth, raising that upper lip, and retrieve some of the partly chewed food!  The coyote with the food allowed it!

They both continued to chew their respective shares, and then the same coyote went back for more, but the feast was finished — there was no more to be taken! Puppies get regurgitated food in this manner from their parents. The behavior seems to continue past the puppy stage.  Is it a ritual or communication? Is the behavior a confirmation of unity? Affection? Dominance/submissiveness??

I have read that there are tolerated mouth-to-mouth food transfers in marmosets, and that this behavior occurs irrespective of the animal’s sex or dominant/subordinate status.

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