Eastern coyote (Canis latrans)
Eastern coyotes are among the larger mammals found in the Albany Pine Bush Preserve. This wild member of the dog family (Canidae) is variable in color ranging from dark brown to blonde. They have thick fur and a bushy black-tipped tail that points down. Eastern coyotes are about four to five feet long (nose to tail) and weigh up to 35 to 45 pounds with females being slightly smaller than males. They are social animals with mated pairs staying together for years. Coyotes are vocal and communicate with howls, yips, barks and yelps. Listen for them in late summer and fall when they are especially vocal. Coyotes are an impotant predator and have been studied extensively in the Albany Pine Bush Preserve.
Habitat: Eastern coyotes are highly adaptable animals found in a variety of habitats including the suburbs of New York City, the inland pine barrens of the Albany Pine Bush and the Adirondack Park. They are opportunitstic ominivores, eating a diet of small mammals, insects and plant material including berries. Coyotes raise their pups in dens, which can be found in the sandy soil of the Pine Bush or under downed trees.
- Despite popular belief, coyotes are not strictly nocturnal and are frequently observed moving around in the daytime.
- Genetic studies of eastern coyotes have revealed the presence of wolf DNA in their genetic make-up.