A Boyfriend for A Loner!

My friend Ilana contacted me after she saw two coyotes where there had only been one ever before. Our loner coyote, a female, has lived reclusively — reclusively when it comes to other coyotes but not people or cars — in one of our parks for two and a half years. Suddenly and for the first time, she was seen walking in the company of another coyote! This is very exciting! I hurried over to the park to take a look, even though it was late at night.

She’s on the right smiling at her new beau!

Because it was nighttime, I saw some wildlife which I don’t normally see during daylight hours: for instance, a barn owl, beautifully white in the light of a streetlamp, fluttering kitelike above its prey, and two raccoons stealthily weaving their way around parked cars and over a cyclone fence on their way somewhere.

Within minutes, I spotted the loner coyote and then the newcomer. They stuck pretty much together. An acquaintance happened along and held my flashlight so that I was able to take a record shot in the dead of darkness. I didn’t know if the coyote’s would be a one-night visit, or something more permanent.

The next morning I returned and saw them again, well after dawn. First, I saw the loner by herself. She sniffed something enticingly-smelly in the middle of an intersection, so she wallowed and rubbed herself on it: perfume for the occasion??  Fortunately, it was Saturday, so traffic was light. She then disappeared into some bushes and soon re-appeared, this time with the newcomer right behind her. It appears that he’s planning on staying a while. My friend Gary’s running club appeared at that moment and I was able to share the event, and the excitement thereof, with them.

When the loner emerged with her new friend, she exuded happiness. It was apparent that, to her, the newcomer was more than welcome here. She was totally solicitous towards him. They went trotting off: I’m sure she was showing him around. Her attention and gaze were regularly in his direction. Repeatedly she extended her snout in his direction in a show of happy acceptance, and they both smiled most of the time. Only once, that I saw — and I was continually watching — did he push back, which surprised her no end, as revealed in her facial expression in this photo I captured (below). Might she have been a bit overbearing in her welcoming behavior? She backed off a little and everything became balanced again.

The resident loner (on the right in all these photos) kept looking at the newcomer as if to say, “Isn’t this fun?”, and reaching with her snout in his direction.

Only once was she told to “cool it”!

The coyotes spent the bulk of their time together hunting, playing chase with each other, and trekking the length of the park. The most amazing part of it was to see how happy they were, especially the loner: she was smiling ear to ear almost every time I saw her; she kept looking at him to make sure he, too, was having a good time, and she became playful frequently to show how much she liked having him there. Walkers in the park were enchanted: TWO now!

Chasing, play, and just being together.

The newcomer is skilled at hunting, especially leaping for prey

Twice she was chased by dogs — this is par for a morning — while he sat in the background and watched. He did not go to her aid, which many coyotes wilI do. In both cases, the exhausted dogs gave up: no dog can maneuver the hills as lithely as a coyote who doesn’t have bulk or pounds weighing her down.

What is on everyone’s mind, I know because everyone is asking me, is pups. Whoa! Coyote females come into heat just once a year in January or February. Our loner is old enough to have pups now at 3 1/2 years of age. Males, interestingly, produce sperm, also, only at this one time of year through a process called spermatogenesis which lasts two months. Males tend to wait to reproduce until they are about 4 years old is what I have seen. We have no idea how old this male is, except that he is at least 1 1/2 years old — he is obviously not young enough to have been born this year.  If he is as old as our female or older, we could have pups next April. If he is younger, it won’t be for a while.

My hope is that paying attention to him might help curtail some of the attention the loner has been paying to human activity, dogs, and cars. Wouldn’t that be nice?!

Please, everyone, keep your dogs away from them: the minute you see a coyote, shorten your leash and walk away. You could pick up a small dog as you walk away. For an introduction to coexistence, watch: Coyotes As Neighbors: What To Know and Do. For How To Handle Coyote Encounters: A Primer, press for the flyer by that name. To learn a little about coyote family life, read this short article which appeared in WildCare Magazine: Inside A Coyote Family

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. environmentalhealthpolicy
    Sep 10, 2018 @ 03:55:24

    Wow! This is so exciting! I saw the newcomer at about 10:00 Am on Friday morning. He was further East than I’ve ever seen our coyote, off the hill,but headed that way nose-to-ground. I was pretty sure it was a different coyote, since it looked a bit browner and skinnier than ours. I couldn’t tell that it was a male at that point, but it seemed like a youngster. Very interesting!

    Reply

    • yipps:janetkessler
      Sep 10, 2018 @ 04:44:05

      Hi! Actually the resident female is the browner and skinnier one, so this is probably the one you saw. The new male was first spotted in the evening on Friday and is lighter in color and a bit rounder looking. He’s at least 1.5 years old but may be older. It’s fun, isn’t it?!

  2. Bobbie Pyron
    Sep 10, 2018 @ 21:03:02

    Oh my gosh, if ever there was a great example of a coyote grin, our love-struck loner exemplifies it!

    Reply

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