Coyotes in the Grand Canyon
Like a dog, coyotes live about 10 to 12 years in the wild. Its scientific name is Canis latrans, and it comes from the Canidae family. To identify coyotes, look for an animal that exhibits a dog-like appearance that is smaller than a wolf in size. Coyotes generally weigh about 30 pounds, and stand at the shoulder 18 inches in height. Their fur can vary from a reddish-orange cast to a distinctive gray. The tail is heavily furred and long.
What Coyotes Eat
Coyotes love to feast on carrion and small rodents, and sometimes may capture a pronghorn calf, deer, or elk to eat. The extirpation of wolves in Grand Canyon National Park has increased the coyote population. These animals are one of the predators in the park that have killed the California condor for food.
When to Spot Them
If you stay at a lodge in the park at night, you usually will hear coyotes howling. Grey foxes also howl at nighttime. If you believe what you are seeing is a coyote, make sure to check for the animal’s pointed ears and the black tip on its tail, which is usually positioned down.
When coyotes hunt, they normally hunt in pairs. Sometimes they appear in groups. They like to hunt during the nighttime hours. However, at times, they may vary their routine and hunt in the daytime too. They like to span a range about 15 miles from their habitat or den. As a result, they frequently follow fixed paths in search of food.
Where Coyotes Live
While they are known to build dens on their own, they usually settle into an abandoned burrow of a badger or similar small animal. Both the male and female coyote are considered to be good at parenting. Both animals feed their pups with the regurgitated food from a hunt.
After a gestation period of around 60 days, a mother coyote typically gives birth to a litter of one to 19 pups. A pup will grow exceptionally fast, reaching its full size within a year after its birth. While male pups, which are almost mature usually leave a pack, the female pups remain with the other coyotes.
How They Communicate
When coyotes communicate, they howl as well as bark or yip to one another. You may hear this vocalization in the daytime. However, most coyotes are heard at around sunset. Because coyotes range throughout the state of Arizona, they are listed as one of the state’s most common animals, as well as a popular mammal among Grand Canyon wildlife enthusiasts.
Coyotes can cover a large distance and can sprint as fast as 30 miles per hour. Who knows? You might capture a coyote running on film. If so, it will make a visit to the Grand Canyon National Park all that more exciting.
Other Wildlife in the Grand Canyon
Besides the coyote, the park features some of the most interesting and unique wildlife in the world. Some of the park inhabitants include the tassel-eared Abert’s squirrel, the mountain lion, the bighorn sheep, and the bald eagle. Make a list of the animals you would like to see during your Grand Canyon adventure and make your park visit a kind of animal treasure hunt.