Last week gray wolf pups were spotted in Northern California announced the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. They have nicknamed the two adults and five pups the Shasta pack. This pack is the first pack in California since 1924.
We don’t have wolves down in Southern California, but we do have a relative of wolves: coyotes. Coyotes are smaller than wolves and have longer ears and thinner bodies. Coyote fur varies in color depending on geographic region. Coyotes can be seen any time of day, but are most active at night and early morning alone or in a small group. They breed during the beginning of the year from January to March and raise their pups in dens in the sides of hills, thick underbrush, or rock crevices. One of the most distinguishing characteristics of a coyote is their vocalizations. Coyotes are very vocal animals; their yelp and bark howl are common sounds that distinguish a coyote. Adapted to urban life, coyotes can be seen in big cities like Los Angeles. One reason coyotes are so adaptable is because they eat just about anything. Here at Bolsa Chica they mostly prey on ground squirrels, rats, rabbits, and gophers, but they are not picky and will eat birds, lizards or anything else they can catch.
Living with Coyotes
Learning to live with coyotes is important for both their safety and our own safety. The easiest way to cohabitate with coyotes is by eliminating elements that attract coyotes like easily accessible food, water, and shelter. Garbage cans should have secure lids and pets should be brought inside. Killing or relocating coyotes is not effective. When coyotes are removed from an area, surrounding area coyotes will move in to replace the population.
To learn more visit: Preventing Coyote Conflicts
Coyotes are an important part of our ecosystem. At Bolsa Chica, coyotes help keep the rodent and rabbit populations to a manageable amount. Without coyotes, we would be overrun with rodents!