Breeding Season: Different Behaviors and Edginess

Coyotes come into “season” once a year. This, unusually, is true of the males also. Females come into estrus in January. Coyote males produce sperm only at this time of year, and the process takes about two months. As happens with all critters, including humans, the hormones become powerful source of drives and behavior changes. Above are photos of a male showing a strong interest in a new odor. This is the kind of behavior you will see now.

In addition, it appears that the hormones can cause an edginess around dogs — akin to PMS in humans!? If she’s in heat right now does she need to keep dogs away from herself?  Other behaviors I’ve noticed recently include much more wandering and a lot more marking and scratching the ground. Below is a video of a female coyote reacting to an unleashed dog even though the dog is quite a distance away.  The dog is barking threateningly at the coyote and then approaches. The coyote reacts by baring her teeth, raising her hackles, bouncing up and down and scratching the ground. When the owner finally grabs his dog, the coyote runs angrily down the hill to watch them depart.  You can tell she’s very upset at how she was treated by the intrusive dog, even though the dog, in this case, was a substantial distance away.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gail
    Feb 02, 2013 @ 05:40:10

    Being able to actually witness this behavior is exciting. Yes, she is clearly upset. She doesn’t have pups yet….but if she did have them in a nearby den and the same scenario occurred with the dog, would her behavior might possibly be the same, or more aggressive?
    Also, do tyou know if the eastern coyotes go into estrus at the same time as the westerns?


  2. Barbara Knupp
    Feb 04, 2013 @ 14:25:36

    In KY, we consider Jan. to be coyote breeding season. The description of the male coyote fits with my observations of male dogs. Also, my family raised/trained dogs for over 40 years and we often noted bitches were more testy with each other and with the males as estrous began. A bitch can be very nasty with a male until just the right time. I wonder why coyotes are monogamous? Is it because the male protects his mate? I wonder if this female coyote had a mate? Also I understand that though rare, breeding between a dog and coyote is possible.


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