Sibling Rivalry #4a: Bullied Three Consecutively Times Before Snapping

The sequence of photos for this posting is long: 35 photos, so I have divided them, along with the posting into two parts, “a” and “b”.

In these photos, various things are occurring. First, the dominant sibling coyote has caught a vole. The less dominant coyote sibling watches from only a few feet away as the dominant one toys with the vole for a moment. But then the dominant guy decides to show his sibling his place by overpowering him — notice that his hackles are up. The dominance seems to be less based on strength than on a powerful personality — a willfulness. I say this, because the smaller coyote is the more dominant one.

Maybe the dominant guy saw that the less dominant coyote might want his vole? See One Coyote Filching The Other’s Lunch! I don’t know if this was the case here, it is just a thought that later occurred to me. The less dominant coyote falls to the ground and remains there until the dominant one’s attention is diverted, at which point the less dominant one slips away — but he is overpowered again, until the dominant guy thinks of the vole he caught a few minutes earlier.

Continued at:  Sibling Rivalry #4b: Bullied Three Consecutively Times Before Snapping

Sibling Rivalry #4b: Bullied Three Consecutively Times Before Snapping

This is a continuation of the previous posting which left off with a dominant coyote remembering the prey it had abandoned.

The dominant coyote finds his prey, a vole, and eats it wholeheartedly as the more submissive coyote looks on — actually approaching within only a few inches.

When the submissive guy moves off, the dominant guy, again, for the third time within 20 minutes, approached the departing fellow and attempted dominating him again. This time the less dominant guy stood up for himself, snapping viciously at his bullying sibling.  The bully moved on out of the area, and the bullied fellow sat down and watched him leave.

It is sad to see the fun-loving, playful young coyotes becoming antagonistic and hierarchical. They must do so as they attain their adulthood. They may soon go their separate ways. A childhood chapter in their lives is closing, and a new life as independent adults is coming on. We are all waiting to see how this develops. But who knows? Maybe these coyotes will remain in the area as part of an intact pack. Maybe they are just establishing and tightening the social order. A firm and well defined social order may be needed for the group to operate smoothly.

Sibling Rivalry #3: Growling

I had never heard growling between these coyotes until today. They are 18 month-old male siblings who appear to be going through the process of separation between each other. They have always played wholeheartedly as buddies until very recently. Here, the dominant guy to the left approached the guy to the right. The less dominant guy to the right narrowed his eyes, put his ears down and growled; he then shook himself out, maybe to reduce tension? Ears down indicates caution and wariness. This ended the interaction, with both then sitting together side by side on the hillside.

I call the less dominant guy “less dominant” and not “submissive” because, although he is the one who moves off or hits the ground when the two interact, he nonetheless snaps or growls in his own defense. His ears are often carried low — down and to the sides — when these two are together: a sign of being cautious and wary.