Pupping Is Happening Now

Well, finally our coyote pups are being born, and the reason I know this is because suddenly coyotes are not around: I’m seeing them less than before. They’ve gone “underground” into hiding, which is what they do during pupping. This is a self-protective measure during a period of time when they are most vulnerable: during birthing and into the early pupping rearing time through lactation, which ends in early June. Not only must they protect themselves, but now they will have a family dependent on them: they are needed to nurture and keep their youngsters alive. Therefore, as I see it, they aren’t out taking any unnecessary chances. When I do see them during this time frame, especially the lactating females are usually further off hunting focusedly, and usually during the darker hours when they are harder to see, or they are slithering by quickly carrying food in their mouths for their litters. This is also when I see them more in “protective” mode where they will stand guarding the turf around their den areas, or even the space around themselves, and messaging any dog that even looks like he might come close.

Restating guidelines: The important thing for everyone to know is that it’s best to always walk away from any coyote you see, especially if you have a dog. By doing so, you are showing a disinterest in them, and that’s what they want: they want to be left alone. They are less likely to react to a dog if we give them the space they need to feel comfortable. We want them to think of dogs as “ho, hum” objects, rather than constantly being ready to defend themselves. Around their dens, coyotes will actively make an effort to message dog. Please walk away and then stay away from this area.

A word about coyote visibility. It’s really interesting all the “news” we hear about coyotes suddenly becoming more visible, always with some sort of explanation given, be it “mating season”, “mate-searching season”, “dispersal season”, even “the pandemic“, and now “pupping-season defined as mid-March through mid-June”. In fact, from my observations, I would say that pupping season lasts through to Winter. From now through mid-June I see less of the coyotes, not more.

Yikes! All the talk I’ve read and heard about coyotes becoming more visible at certain times is perplexing. It would mean that coyotes are more out now than the last time you were likely to see them out more only a couple of months ago, and the month before that, and the month before that, all times when you were supposed to see them out more than before? Again, from my observations in San Francisco — and I admit that all my research is limited to this one 49 square mile area, so maybe SF is different — coyotes become less visible, if anything, during the time frame after new pups are born. My thoughts are that parents won’t make themselves too visible (i.e., vulnerable) by exposing themselves more during this critical time when pups need them the most: a mishap causing the death of an adult could mean the death of the entire family. In fact, during pupping seasons gone by, I tend to get shorter glimpses of them as they slither away much more readily than normally when they know they’ve been spotted. It’s the same thing that occurs after they are injured in any way: they are more vulnerable with their injury and they know it, so they keep more out of harm’s way, less visible for a time.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Jim Lilienthal
    Apr 07, 2021 @ 04:22:18

    Hi Janet,

    Given that you haven’t seen the “mating male” since last fall, at least if I have it right, what do you suspect might be going on with regard to any fertility in the local group? And, do you have any further take on those two that you saw nearby, and Clem and I one of them, last Saturday—all during this period that you’re referring to?

    Do you know who is the one whose photo I sent you? The “intruder”? Or one of the maturing family?

    Gracias! Jim


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