Spring Madness, by Walkaboutlou

20210413-1

Hello Janet!

I hope Spring finds you well. As I make some ranch rounds and visits, I’m preparing for hip replacement (ugh) and am just waiting for clearance and schedule. The hospitals are still lining up surgerys, backlogged months.

I visited the ranch where Slim Jim, an older coyote I shared with you, resides. He and his mate Chica are denned and raising this years pups. Goodness knows how old Slim Jim is. Anywhere from minimal 9 years to 13 years. A very old rare coyote. His mate Chica is still young, around 3 or 4.

But spring madness has reared its head for them.

They have descendants scattered all about, some near. Some far. It appears a daughter has returned….but she was pregnant and seems to have denned with Mom. We don’t know for sure. All we know (and I’m filled in by the landowner…he watches them for months) is that Slim Jim, Chica, and a yearling son seemed settled for pupping when a begging, pregnant, young female came begging. Chica bit her…then relented.

A few days later, Chica and Young female were in and out den area, both deflated and having milk.

We have thought a lot. Studied and scouted and think of possibilities.

It’s very possible she’s a departed daughter whose mate was killed by wolves or Staghound hunting pack. At the outskirts of this non hunting ranch property, wolves and Staghounds have hunted coyote hard along Cascade edges. We know of at least 6 dispatched this way.

A young female. Mate killed. Wolves or Staghound hunters patrolling. Very bad for a single mom facing pup season. We think in desperation she came home..and was grudgingly allowed back. Either way…a desperate pregnant young female came…and was admitted.

Slim Jim is often along a ridge. Watchful..but so old. His yearling son is already feeding both moms with Slim Jim. There are elk and deer carcasses nearby as well as thousands of voles and mice. 4 adult coyote..who knows how many pups. They will be hard pressed…but food is abundant.

SO MUCH NOT KNOWN. BUT SO AMAZING. COYOTE HAVE INCREDIBLY FASCINATING TIMES AS THEY ALL DIFFER BUT SHARE THE THEME OF FAMILY AND SURVIVAL.

Their area and den are anonymous and will stay this way. And they will remain isolated and watched. I hope the best for all of them. C’mon Slim Jim….you can make this season.

Take care Janet

Lou


Hi Lou! FASCINATING! I’ve seen a few instances where it appears outsider coyotes have been “admitted” into established families!

Warmly! Janet


Hi Janet, I think coyote have social plasticity we haven’t even dreamed of at times. Anything is possible.


Hi Janet,

The landowner has let me know I can keep visiting but only without dogs. I have to stay on far ridge with my binoculars if I want to try to watch.

The Latest-I have been allowed to name the young female who begged admittance.

She is VERY young…maybe 2. She is very nervous but seems calmer every few days.
The yearling son of Slim Jim and Chica is now Big Brother.
So…adults are Slim Jim. Minimum 9 years. Very possibly older.
Chica-Mom and Dominant Matriarch. 3-4 years old.
Newly Admitted female and mother-named Janet in your honor.

There are 11….ELEVEN!!!!!!! pups counted at the site. It took the landowners family some days to verify. Both mothers are nursing communally.  You cannot tell whose pups are whose. Litters are converged and same age likely by days.

There are a series of dens along this distant ridge and this 1st den is already too small it seems. Or at least..crowded

Janet seems a bit overwhelmed but doing better. She also goes on short forays calling in direction of likely old territory. We think she is calling for her deceased mate. And by her behavior with Big Brother…they definitely seem siblings!

She is ultra submissive to Chica. Chica nurses and grooms all the pups way more than Janet.

Big Brother and Slim Jim feed Chica and pups still. Pups…around 3 weeks. Janet dashes off for quick forage and drink and races back.

The mothers seem very thirsty at times. Slim Jim is always alert but….very worn. He looks well though.

The sheep herd that seasonally comes through here with LGD has been diverted to other grazing areas. This ranch is big enough to do that. I’m so thankful. They said the LGD will “train” the new litter of coyotes this summer but want the pups big enough to run away and escape.

In the many decades of various coyote and LGD, they haven’t lost any sheep or goats to coyote. They know Slim Jim, he doesn’t bother sheep, nor does his pack. They know the older LGD and Slim Jim, Chica, Big Brother and Janet…will influence the 11 pups…and allow that process.

It will be a VERY busy spring summer season. 11 pups! I hope i can witness some scenes. The ranch family are all pro coyote. It’s a family hobby.

Anyhow…..I’m so excited. 11 pups!!!!!


Hi Lou! Oh my gosh!! Frantastic! You have the whole, unusual, family here which you can now watch! You’ll have more stories to share with me!!!  And the new gal is . . . Janet!!  Yikes! Thank you for honoring me this way! :))) I’ll add what you’ve said here to the last posting, and let’s continue the thread on the blog if interesting things (or otherwise) come up? If you get any photos at all, even from a distance, please include a couple. Thank you so much, Lou, for sharing this with me. I bet you/we will learn some interesting things through your eyes here.  :)))

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jo Thompson
    Apr 14, 2021 @ 14:17:14

    Thank you, Lou. Coyotes are ironically resilient.

    Reply

  2. Lisa Febre
    Apr 14, 2021 @ 18:15:10

    Lou, I always look forward to reading your updates on Slim Jim & Chica. Animals live very complicated and delicate lives, in a world filled with fear & uncertainty. At least the young female was able to find some comfort and security, and in that little corner of the earth there is peace.

    Reply

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