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Coyotes & Moles

2-19-16  hairy-tailed mole2 155Foxes and coyotes are very apt to dig into the ground where they detect the presence of a mole. In the pictured scene, the digging of a coyote was evident from the disturbed snow and earth and the abundance of coyote tracks. Two excavated holes led directly into an underground tunnel.

While many sources state that moles are part of a coyote’s diet, there are many instances, including the one pictured, where the mole (hairy-tailed) is left untouched after being unearthed by a coyote.  Unlike northern short-tailed shrews, moles are not toxic and one wonders what occasionally prevents a coyote from consuming its prey.

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3 responses

  1. Elizabeth

    How can you tell the difference between a coyote digging and that of a domestic dog? My dogs sometimes dig up moles and leave them. Of course, unlike the coyote, they are assured of an easier-to-eat meal later in the day.

    February 19, 2016 at 7:50 am

    • The habitat is the first giveaway for me, although coyotes are found near homes, and in the suburbs, Coyote trails are usually more direct and intentional, for lack of another word, than domestic dogs, who can afford to wander willy nilly as they know they are going to be fed and don’t have to intensely look for food. Dog and coyote tracks are very similar, for sure — I find that dog toe prints are spread out more than coyotes, whose outer toes are more “tucked in’ under the middle two toes than dogs’ are.

      One source says: “Domestic dog tracks are often mistaken as coyote footprints. Tracks of domestic dogs are generally rounder, have blunt nails, and are less symmetrical. Another feature that helps distinguish coyote from domestic dog tracks relates to the negative space between the toes and pad. On coyotes, an X-shape can be drawn in the negative space, whereas on most domestic dogs, the negative space does not form an X-shape.”

      February 19, 2016 at 10:16 am

  2. That is so interesting. A mystery!
    Our dog has a nose for finding dead, frozen critters. Not a problem now, but come spring thaw, it’s going to get ugly. 😉

    February 19, 2016 at 8:27 pm

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