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Coyote Beds

2-22-17-coyote-beds-049a4655Like most carnivores, coyotes do not have permanent homes, other than the maternal dens in which they raise their young.   In the winter, coyotes do not usually seek shelter in a den, but rather prefer to sleep outside, preferably out of the wind in a hollow or under an overhang, a fallen tree or the spreading boughs of an evergreen (see photo, where two coyotes bedded down). A study on the relative time coyotes spend resting or hunting found that they spend more time resting in these sites in the winter, when they depend more on carrion, than in the summer, when small rodents are readily available and more time is spent finding and catching prey.

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13 responses

  1. How do you tell the difference between coyote “beds” and those of white tail deer? I often see such hollows under fir trees and assumed they were deer.

    February 22, 2017 at 7:50 am

    • Great question Shea !

      February 22, 2017 at 8:32 am

    • If there’s snow, I use tracks. I am not a good enough tracker to find deer or coyote beds without snow!

      February 22, 2017 at 9:12 am

  2. Thanks (again) for the neat photo Mary. I do wonder about the “study” you cite describing coyotes feeding on “carrion” in the winter. Where does the carrion in our woods come from? I expect coyotes in the West may display this habit. I expect there are more large predators in the West to produce “carrion”. But here, aside from some weak deer that don’t over-winter, here I expect that the coyotes produce their own carrion.

    OH OH; In the Canmplain Valley and other areas with large dairy farms dead cows (no longer producing milk or fit for slaughter) dumped in the “back lot” do provide feeding stations for coyotes. I’ve seen these areas with abundant coyote sign.

    February 22, 2017 at 8:30 am

    • I attributed the ample winter carrion to white-tailed deer carcasses. I’ve rarely found coyote scat in winter that didn’t contain a lot of deer hair.

      February 22, 2017 at 9:13 am

      • Thanks. I agree. I do think that hair may come from live deer run down throughout the winter. In conditions similar to what we have now, deer must post-hole as they walk; coyotes scamper along and easily capture them.

        February 22, 2017 at 3:55 pm

      • Tom Zuba

        Mary, I agree with you 100% I spend many hours in the woods each year both in enjoying them and hunting. I also see scat with signs of White- Tail Deer hair in it both from a Deer that has been injured and more so from healthy Deer that have been stalked and surrounded by Coyotes which is the way a Canine hunts. As far as the beds under the over hanging limbs of many Carnivore trees, one can tell by the tracks leading to the bed and also by the fact that a deer will not lay right tight to another deer as a coyote. The other sign you will notice is that both animals will step in there beds when the get up and the snow beneath there bed is still warm allowing them to leave a perfect track of the animal that has bedded there.
        Thank you again Mary for more great photos and info.
        Tom Zuba.

        February 22, 2017 at 5:33 pm

  3. Hi Mary, I am an 8th grade science teacher. I use your daily blogs on my morning board ever day, have your books as part of my tracking, ornithology, and ecology units, and love to feel connected to the landscape through your blogs.

    Today in the fields behind Camels Hump Middle School in Richmond, Vermont, we found this track. I thought you might find it interesting.

    Sandy [image: Inline image 1]

    Sandra S. Fary Science/ELA Teacher Grade 8 Camels Hump Middle School Richmond, VT 05477

    On Wed, Feb 22, 2017 at 7:29 AM, Naturally Curious with Mary Holland wrote:

    > Mary Holland posted: “Like most carnivores, coyotes do not have permanent > homes, other than the maternal dens in which they raise their young. In > the winter, coyotes do not usually seek shelter in a den, but rather prefer > to sleep outside, preferably out of the wind in a hol” >

    February 22, 2017 at 9:48 am

    • Hi Sandy, Can you send your track photo to me at WordPress doesn’t allow photos to come through, unfortunately. I’m thrilled to be part of your 8th graders’ lives! Thank you! Mary

      Sent from my iPhone


      February 22, 2017 at 11:12 am

  4. Kathie Fiveash

    I like the way the two imprints show that the two coyotes were snuggled close to each other.

    February 22, 2017 at 9:59 am

  5. Ruth Van Doren

    We had a coyote bed down under our sun porch one winter in ME. Figured he didn’t have to go out side foe rodents that were living under our summer house.

    February 22, 2017 at 6:24 pm

  6. Bridgit Litchfield

    One of the high lights of our tracking lives was the find of a coyote bedding/mating site in our forest, under evergreens, complete with hair and blood from the menstruating females. tracks led in from all directions like spokes on a wheel.

    February 22, 2017 at 10:44 pm

  7. How do you tell a deer bed from a coyote bed?

    February 27, 2017 at 8:24 pm

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