Recently at a back yard barbecue, we were all astounded to see a coyote brazenly strut up close and personal to check out the festivities. Normally coyotes are shy and avoid contact with humans, but this guy was curious. Then we realized he was checking out the family’s dog.
Coyotes may view dogs as a threat, or as potential prey, it depending on the size of the dog. Of course, everyone was concerned that the coyote might attack Tank until he stood up and barked. One look at Tank and coyote was gone.
Actually, dogs and coyotes are close relatives. In a recent study of coyote-dog behavior researchers found that, members of both species have playful behavior. Play bows were common throughout the play session. Both dog and coyote displayed chasing and roughhousing.
Size does matter to coyotes perhaps because it is easier to attack smaller dogs. But when confronted with a bigger dog they back down immediately. However, dogs do not behave in a predatory way toward coyotes and are not aggressive in their interactions with them.
Because dogs and coyotes are related, they are biologically capable of producing litters. Coy-dogs, bred successfully in captivity, are hybrids of coyotes and dogs. Genetic surveys of coyotes in the wild show little evidence of dogs in their makeup. This suggests little natural cross over and some of the reasons are inherited differences.
Coyotes are highly seasonal breeders; dogs are not. Male coyotes tend to litters, whereas dogs and coy-dog males do not. In addition, coy-dogs have lower fertility than either domestic dogs or coyotes.
If you do see a coyote, do not run away but always back up and make noise to scare them.
Wile E. Coyote has never outsmarted the roadrunner, and I’m sure he will not outsmart you.
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