Sleeping and Resting Right In The Open

Several times I have watched a coyote settle down in a spot, look around, and finally curl up for some sleep, right in the open. It is not exactly in plain view since the coyote is so well camouflaged — it would be very hard to detect that a coyote were there if you had not seen it go there in the first place. However, a few days ago I actually discovered this coyote sprawled out asleep in the wide open. By zooming in with my lens, I could see that the coyote opened one eye and was aware of me from quite a distance, but it did not raise its head. It did not move at all! I’ve put three zooms in here to show how absolutely hidden the coyote is — but the coyote is there!!

Actively Hunting

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Here is hunting sequence. It began with two coyotes hunting right in the same spot, but one went off. The hunting session lasted about twenty minutes. Note that when the lone coyote stood still, which was not often, its tail swished slowly back and forth, back and forth, revealing the coyote’s excitement and tension. There was one pounce, but nothing was caught. In the end, the coyote curled up, right there in the open, right at the hunting spot, but at a considerable distance from any path, and fell asleep!  Hunting might last awhile, as it did here, or, it could be totally effortless, lasting a mere split-second — as if the coyote had gone to the refrigerator and pulled out a coke!

In this instance, the coyote seemed to look directly at whatever he was after. But another technique the coyotes use is “triangulating”, where they will cock their heads from side to side for auditory signals which will tell them exactly where the prey is.

Hunkering Down For Rest

Where do coyotes hunker down for their rest? It appears it is right under the open sky in plein air, and not necessarily in the bushes!! I followed a coyote for about ten minutes as it hunted, it moved on a little, it sat and watched, and then it moved on some more, repeating this sequence. I moved on, too, behind it. Then it sat down and glared at me a couple of times: “yea, what do you want.”  I was getting ready to abandon the coyote when it moved one more time, so again, I peeked over at it. At this time of year the grasses are very tall and I could not see through them very well. However, I could barely discern that the coyote had stopped where another coyote was already lying down — I could just barely make out the ears. This second coyote did not get up. Instead, the first coyote lay down right beside the first!! My own wanderings and observations had obviously ended for that day!

I’ve heard that coyotes actually only use their dens for the first five weeks or so of life, and that slowly they move further and further off from the den area for resting. My thought is that, by varying resting and sleeping locations, the coyotes are actually keeping fleas from building up in an area. These coyotes do have fleas because I’ve consistently seen them scratch themselves.

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