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Archive for December 9, 2016

Coyotes & Lyme Disease

email-coyote-153Kathie Fiveash, a Maine naturalist and author, commented about today’s post, and I felt the information she conveyed was so interesting that I wanted to be sure readers saw it.  She wrote about a study done on Cape Cod coyotes by Jonathan Way, who often live captures coyotes and releases them. According to Kathie, “Jonathan said that he takes blood from captured animals and they almost all test positive for Lyme, but are asymptomatic. As I remember, it, he theorized that wild canids have been living with Lyme ticks for eons, and have developed resistance to the disease, while dogs and humans do not have that evolved resistance.”

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When I head out to photograph for a blog post, my quest is usually for signs of animal behavior (unless I’m focusing on plants). I fail more often than I succeed, but once in a while I hit the jackpot. I am well aware that what I call a jackpot may not be considered as such by others…and I know my heart beats fast at sights (and smells) that others’ hearts do not. Today’s post may be such an occasion.

I decided to follow coyote tracks this week in the hopes of finding evidence of some kind of canine activity. After an hour or so of crossing fields and woods, the coyote entered thick brush, so dense that even it must have had some difficulty slipping through the brambles. At the edge of this brush, its tracks led to an old stump, on the top of which the coyote had curled up and taken a nap or a much-needed rest. Eventually it jumped off the stump and continued its journey.

Coyote beds are not that rare a find, but they are always fun to come upon. Thinking I had captured a worthy post photo/topic, I clicked away, after which I observed the coyote bed more closely. It was then that I detected something small and dark in the snow at the edge of the bed (circled in red in photo). Close examination revealed that a very engorged tick had evidently had its fill of coyote blood, and had dropped off into the snow. Frosting on the cake for this morning’s quest!

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