Coyotes, once an icon of the Wild West, are now found in every major U.S. metropolitan city, the result of their ability to easily adapt to human habitat. They were recorded in Pennsylvania as early as the 1930s, arrived in Maryland and Virginia about 20 years ago and were first sighted in the District of Columbia in 2004. How much do you know about our new neighbors?
1. The coyote’s Latin name, Canis latrans, means:
A. Barking dog
B. Clever dog
C. Night dog
D. Wily dog
2. Coyotes migrated East along a southerly route through the Gulf states and a northerly route through Canada. The coyotes that have arrived from Canada weigh 35–50 pounds versus 20–35 pounds for their southern brothers. Why?
A. Fattier food along the northern route
B. Interbreeding with wolves
C. They have denser fur
D. No one is sure
3. “Coydog” is the term given to an animal that is the result of interbreeding between a coyote and a domestic dog. Biologists now know that coydogs are extremely rare and believe that many of so-called “coydogs” are actually differently colored coyotes or feral dogs. Why?
A. The breeding cycles of the two species are not synchronized.
B. Because they smell different, most coydogs pups are killed soon after they are born.
C. Domestic dogs and coyotes are mortal enemies.
D. You’re pulling my leg, there is no such thing as a coydog.
4. The coyote’s reputation for eating livestock and sheep is overrated. They will eat anything edible that they can get their paws on: rodents, carrion, frogs, snakes, garbage, seeds and plants. They have apparently developed a fondness for one fruit in particular, and can wreak havoc where it is grown commercially. This fruit is:
5. Coyotes’ long legs help to make them the fastest runners in the Canidae family, which includes wolves and foxes. How fast can a coyote run?
A. 15-20 miles per hour; 30 mph for short distances
B. 20-25 miles per hour; 35 mph for short distances
C. 25-30 miles per hour; 40 mph for short distances
D. 30-35 miles per hour; 45 mph for short distances
6. Coyotes control their numbers by having smaller litters when their population is large and food is scarce or having larger litters when their population is low and food is plentiful. The latter ability has made it difficult to control their numbers through trapping and hunting. How large can a coyote litter be?
A. 7 pups
B. 11 pups
C. 16 pups
D. 19 pups
7. True or false? Coyotes are known for hunting in packs.
8. Which sense do coyotes rely on most when hunting?
9. Is that a coyote? Look at its tail. Which of these four statements is not true about a coyote’s tail.
A. It’s bushy.
B. It has a black tip
C. It is more than half of the coyote’s length.
D. It is down when the animal is running.
1-A 2-B 3-A 4-D 5-C 6-D
7. False, although mates may hunt together or with pups younger than one year. 8-C 9-C