Coyote Pup Season
Springtime in the life of a coyote is defined by the birth of pups, following a 9-week gestation period in April and May. The number of pups produced is generally dependent on available food resources and the surrounding coyote population. In urban areas this can average around 6 pups. Raising young is a team effort, and the entire pack contributes to the success of a litter. For the next several weeks after birth, the mother spends her time primarily in the den with the pups. Both parents hunt for food and feed the young. However, the male takes the lead role when the pups are newborns, obtaining enough food for both his mate and offspring, and staying vigilant of the den sites. Within a few weeks, coyote pups are weaned and begin to exit the den to play and socialize with other pack members. By the time they are around 9 weeks old, den sites are abandoned, and the pups begin to travel along with the pack for the summer season.
Coyote sightings may decrease during the early spring as the pack sticks close to the den, which may be dug by the coyote or found in a variety of locations such as hollow logs, an existing burrow previously occupied by another animal, or a brushy thicket. However, it is important to keep caution when visiting these areas as this is a highly sensitive period for coyotes, and their behavior towards their litters can be extremely protective.
- A human with or without a pet may experience a type of behavior known as ‘escorting,’ where a coyote may follow at a closer distance than usual in order to remove you from the area of their den.
- Though hazing is usually recommended when in close contact with coyotes, hazing techniques during pup season can be ineffective and can further escalate any tense situations.
- The best course of action is to leave the area as confidently as possible, without running.
- Keeping pets on leash and close to you is crucial during this time.
- Never let your pets wander in an area with potential den sites. Coyotes are intolerant of dogs during this time and may bite or attack if they feel threatened.
To prevent conflicts with coyotes, residents are encouraged to stay alert and follow these actionable tips:
Remove food sources from yard (bird seed on ground, pet food, compost, garbage outside of bin).
Keep dogs on leashes at all times. Keep cats safe inside your home, especially from dusk through dawn.
Accompany dogs in yard dusk through dawn, even with a fence.
Deter coyotes from entering yard with hazing techniques (yelling, clapping, whistling, or throwing objects near them).
Coyotes are an important part of Avon Lake’s landscape, helping to control populations of rodents, rabbits, and other small wild animals. Keep your distance and enjoy the wildlife viewing experience.
Did you know that coyotes . . .
- are native to North America?
- typically are shy in nature?
- are omnivores, they eat meat, berries, grass, etc?
- use many forms of communication?
- mate for life?
- live in major cities?
For more information:
"Coexisting with Nature" - Randy White, ODNR Division of Wildlife State Wildlife Officer
Avon Lake Matters Podcast - Jonathon Cepek, Cleveland Metroparks Wildlife Ecologist