8 interesting facts about P.E.I. coyotes
Did you know Eastern Coyotes are believed to be a hybrid coyote/wolf?
By Sara Fraser
Posted: Jan 03, 2017 6:00 AM AT
Last Updated: Jan 03, 2017 8:41 AM AT
Reports of coyotes around the rural edges of Stratford, P.E.I., a few weeks ago took some people by surprise: the wary coyotes tend to stay out of sight, and therefore out of mind — but they're on the Island in fairly significant numbers.
"We have very productive habitat," for coyotes said Garry Gregory, a wildlife biologist with P.E.I. Fish and Wildlife, who agreed to share his knowledge of P.E.I.'s largest but seldom-seen wildlife.
1. They're from away
The first coyote in P.E.I. was snared near Souris in 1983, according to the province's website. Officials believe they crossed the ice from the mainland, and quickly made P.E.I. their home. Now, they're here to stay.
2. No trespassing
Although no one knows for certain exactly how many coyotes call P.E.I. home, Gregory said past estimates put the number at around 2,000 pairs. "They seem to thrive in our agricultural/forested kind of mosaic landscape," Gregory said.
Coyotes' numbers on the Island are likely only limited by their territorial nature, Gregory said.
"A pair of coyotes will maintain a territory within which they will not permit other coyotes to set up," he said. That territory is approximately 50 square kilometres or less. And they patrol their territory, clearly marking it for others with urine.
3. Blood is thicker
Coyotes maintain a family group, "so it's not uncommon to see a group of half a dozen coyotes particularly in the winter, maintaining a pack-type mentality," Gregory said.
Dominant alpha pairs will breed and give birth in the spring, then learn how to hunt and sometimes stick with their parents and other family members through the winter. There are sometimes subordinate adults in the pack who are only permitted to breed if something happens to one of the alpha couple.
They can have anywhere from one to a dozen pups, but the average litter size is five to seven, said Gregory.
4. Together forever
Coyote pairs mate for life, staying together constantly — not just reuniting during mating season, Gregory said, noting they will re-mate if something happens to one of them.
5. They are a hybrid coyote
The Eastern Coyote that calls P.E.I. home is believed a hybrid of a Western Coyote and a wolf that some call a coy-wolf.
"Our coyote is bigger, it's heavier. It's a larger-stature animal," said Gregory. Where coyotes in Western Canada resemble a large fox, Gregory said, coyotes here are 23 to 27 kilograms (50 to 60 pounds).
6. Bounties are useless
Trying to control coyote numbers with bounties has proven to be useless — coyotes will simply respond to the threat by having more pups.
"Coyotes are one of those species that display compensatory reproduction," shared Gregory. "When their density drops, their reproductive output will pick up: they'll have larger litters and/or coyotes that would not have bred otherwise will fill in those vacant territories."
Hunting and trapping, though, is thought to maintain a healthy level of fear of people in coyotes, Gregory said, and they are successfully hunted on P.E.I., their fur sold domestically and to China and Russia for trim on coat hoods. Last year, coyote pelts were worth from $40 to $50, said Gregory.
7. P.E.I. is a coyote buffet
Coyotes are classified as carnivores or meat-eaters, Gregory said, but are omnivorous — they'll eat anything, including plants. They hunt at night — their eyesight and smell, like dogs, are much better than humans'.
They hunt rodents, snowshoe hare, foxes, skunks, raccoons and ground-nesting birds as well as berries and apples. "They're very adaptable and very opportunistic," said Gregory.
They will also kill and eat house cats and small livestock like lambs and calves. Although such occurrences are rare, Gregory noted, "it does happen now and then."
"We get many calls from farmers that see coyotes in and around their farm, but actual direct interactions between the coyotes and livestock themselves are actually fairly rare," Gregory said.
8. Not dangerous, but…
"In the vast majority of situations, coyotes do not pose any imminent danger to people or pets," emphasized Gregory.
At the same time, he advises Islanders should be wary.
"Give them a "wide berth … admire them from a distance." If coyotes come uncomfortably close, yell and throw a stick at them, he said. Keep your pets close to home and secure any food, like pet food, you may have left outside.
People who see coyotes may call Fish and Wildlife, Gregory said.
CBC article found here:
Coyotes On The Island
Posted 03 January 2017 - 09:49 AM
8 interesting facts about P.E.I. coyotes
Posted 03 January 2017 - 10:19 AM
Posted 03 January 2017 - 11:01 AM
Posted 03 January 2017 - 04:13 PM
I have a friend in Springwater Quebec on the Gaspe Peninsula who would dispute the "Bounties are useless" statement. He is as avid a woodsman as there is and tells me they've had a bounty in place for quite some time and it has worked wonders to control coyote numbers thus allowing deer numbers to flourish.
Yes they do
I believe they pay on the number of trap/snare nights .
Posted 03 January 2017 - 08:52 PM
Some of his numbers don't add up - such as coyote home range 50 km square this would only give 114 breeding pairs and if you shorten that to 30 km square you still come up with less than 200 breeding pairs. So say we use about 2000 pairs their home range shrinks to under 3 km square and as a safety net we use 1000 pairs well now their home range is less than 6 km.
Believed a Hybrid - Nope -- is a hybrid -- Timber Wolf DNA confirmed attributed to interbreeding (Wayne and Lehman,1992)
Posted 03 January 2017 - 09:46 PM
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