Body “Twirls”

Well, this isn’t quite a hip slam or body blow, but it’s a variation on the theme. Here, it would more appropriately be called a “body twirl”: the move is the same move as a body slam or body blow, but without making contact. The movement involves a coyote planting her front paws on the ground as a kind of pivot and then heaving or throwing her body around that pivot, energetically. In most cases, contact would have been made, but this case there was just a change in the direction she’s facing.

All behavior has to be read in context to understand its meaning or purpose. If this movement had been accompanied with body contact, and depending on the intensity of that contact and what was going on before and after the twirl, it could have a totally different meaning.

What you see in these photos is a young female using the move in front of a newly arrived male — an apparent suitor. So here her movements are playful and flirty: she’s trying to impress him with how cute she is. She doesn’t touch him. She allows her back side to come right up to him. It’s not only her “safe side” — no teeth are present — but in this case, it’s a very enticing move since it’s mating season. During my observation, she was very excited to see him. Then, after she calmed down, she back up to him several times, pushing her tail over to the side, whereupon he sniffed and licked her, and then mounted her, but for just a moment. There was no actual mating. Actual mating always includes a “tie” which keeps them bound together for several moments: this didn’t happen.

Interestingly, this particular visiting male already has a mate and family. Whoa! Was he drawn to this adjacent territory by the female’s hormone odors, revealing that she “she was ready”? If a male had been present on her territory he would have been leaving his scent markings on that territory, and the male visitor would not have entered the area, but there was no resident male. Her mother and father used to visit regularly until the father disappeared, so “he”Dad” was no longer around to “mark” and therefore “claim” the area. By the way, the visitor male seems to have returned to his own family and territory. The lesson to be learned: Yikes, coyotes play around!!

By the way, the body-slam or hip-blow, where body impact does occur, are part and parcel of highly physical and rough play style.

Again, depending on the purpose which can usually be read in context, these physical blows can be used to taunt and tease, as in this video below:

Yearling Taunts Older Sister As He Practices Body Blows.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. MelindaH
    Mar 06, 2023 @ 21:01:26

    That’s a truly delightful body twirl—a very sweet flirt ❤️


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