For my continuing long term DNA study of our San Francisco coyotes, I needed some scat (DNA is taken from the scats) from a very specific newcomer male coyote about whose origins I had no clue. I already had scat from his mate — I had seen her defecate many times and afterwards collected it, but I just simply was not seeing the activity from the male. Picking up scat right after seeing it expelled is how I know which coyote the sample came from. I had seen old scat in certain locations several times, but of course I didn’t know WHO it came from.  My solution was to catch WHO that scat came from with an automatic wildlife field camera I put out at night. I ended up putting out two such cameras in the same location. I got what I wanted, and more!

When I went to retrieve the two cameras the next morning, I was disappointed to see that one of them was gone: it had been taken — stolen. I looked over to where the second camera had been placed and was relieved to find it still there — the thief had not seen that one. I wondered if maybe that camera would reveal who the thief was?

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. MelindaH.
    Sep 01, 2020 @ 00:29:27

    This is hilarious. Great video, Janet!


  2. Barb
    Sep 01, 2020 @ 20:21:21

    That was cool! I’ve always wanted a field camera.


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Sep 01, 2020 @ 21:53:45

      Hi Barb — You actually have to be careful with them and use them as sparingly as possible. As you can see from the video here, they are not totally innocuous: they can be intrusive and invasive, and they can become a behavior altering device. The hope is always that a coyote will ignore it and act as though it was not there. But what happened here is the coyote REACTED TO and WITH the camera. He did not like the camera there and treated it as a human interference. I use them as seldom as possible for this reason.

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