Nursing Coyote Mothers

a lactating mother coyote

a lactating mother coyote

I had been told that nursing mother coyotes stay in the dens, or fairly close to them, during the 5 weeks following birth when they are being nursed. Guess what? They don’t!

A nursing mom’s need for nourishment skyrockets during this timeframe in order to keep up with the growing nutritional needs of her pups for which she is the sole supplier through nursing. Nevertheless, moms appear to keep themselves pretty secluded and out of sight. New moms are even more secretive and evasive than normal because the lives of pups now depend on them — it’s a safety measure.

This new mom was in a field only a moment or so. The rest of the time she moved slowly under bushes and next to “edges” of taller growth, where she could easily slip away from view. When she saw anyone coming, she slowly stepped behind something, be it a tree, tall grasses, bushes or a stump, where she would not be noticed, and she wasn’t.  She headed “in” for the day when a man and his dog came around a bend and saw her. He stopped and observed. She calmly slithered out of sight. The dog was leashed and well behaved. It all happened so quick and smoothly!

It’s much too early for pups to be out and about. Pups are kept secluded in their dens until about the fifth week of birth, and even after that, their introduction into the bigger world will be a gradual one, and as secret as possible to begin with!

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Barbara Knupp
    May 01, 2013 @ 14:49:52

    Scientists tell us that lactation is more demanding on the Mom’s body than even the gestation period. I expect in 6 weeks, the Mom is pretty worn down and pups teeth can be sharp. So its a devoted Mom who keeps pups 5 – 6 weeks. Some dogs wean a little earlier..

    Once came upon a pair of coyotes some distance ahead trotting on a path perpendicular to my direction. Without even a glance in my direction, the pair melted into the tree line as if they had just vanished.


    • yipps
      May 01, 2013 @ 15:47:41

      Hi Barbara —

      I think towards the end of the nursing period the diet is supplemented and then turned totally to regurgitated food — baby food!

      Your wording, “the pair melted into the tree line as if they had just vanished” is a perfect description of what I’ve seen!

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