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Coyotes in Delaware (Diet, Lifestyle, Habitat..)

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coyotes in wild

Coyotes have recently been spotted in all three Delaware counties, making them one of the top predators in the region. Although originally from western North America, coyotes are impressive nomads – able to adapt to a range of habitats and climates – and their population has now expanded throughout much of the United States. In Delaware, these resourceful animals have found success hunting small mammals such as rabbits and rodents, while supplementing their diet with berries and various plants. Coyotes have also been known to scavenge unsecured trash or even livestock frequently.

coyotes in delaware

Habitat

Coyotes have proliferated throughout Delaware, with their habitats ranging from urban and rural areas to the outskirts of suburban neighbourhoods. These adaptable animals are perfectly suited to living among humans as they are omnivorous and will eat a wide range of food sources, including small rodents and scavenged garbage. Packs of coyotes can be found throughout the state but they tend to prefer moist wetlands and open fields where they can hunt smaller game.  Thickets of shrubbery provide an ideal home for them as the dense vegetation serves to protect the animals from predators while also providing an abundance of prey species.

Diet

Coyotes in Delaware generally consume a very varied diet. They feed on small mammals such as mice and voles, but also enjoy eating fruits like berries and apples, insects, reptiles and ground-dwelling birds. Plant matter such as grass or even corn may also be taken advantage of when the opportunity arises. Deer carrion can be an important food source for these opportunistic animals. The diet of coyotes in Delaware largely depends on the season and availability of different food sources. As they are nocturnal animals, coyotes are known to scavenge pastures at night as well as hunt during both day and night depending on their needs in order to survive.

coyotes in open

Colour

Coyotes in Delaware are predominantly a light grey or dark brown colour and they can also be reddish-tan. The colouring helps them to blend into their environment and escape predators, blending in with natural elements like rocks and soil. Coyotes in Delaware have adapted to the environment by taking on these characteristics – large ears, narrow snout, slender body, and pointed nose as well – to help them survive. While Cubs will usually have more white around their fur, as they age their fur changes to the grizzled colour we often associate with them. 

Size, Lifespan and Weight 

The average size of these creatures is between four and six feet long, depending on their age and gender. These animals live anywhere from ten to thirteen years but some can reach nearly fourteen years in age. The average weight of an adult coyote is only 30 pounds but this varies again depending on the sex of the animal and which specific breed it belongs to. 

Predators

Predators of coyotes in Delaware may surprise some people since coyotes are commonly considered to be predators themselves. However, the state of Delaware is home to two major predator species that feed on coyotes: the red fox and the great horned owl. The red fox has adapted its hunting technique specifically for taking down prey such as coyotes that are much bigger than it is. The red fox achieves success by sneaking up on an unsuspecting coyote, striking quickly with its powerful jaws before retreating back into cover. On the other hand, the great horned owl relies more heavily on its adeptness in hunting during hours of darkness and uses its sharp talons to snare unsuspecting prey such as coyotes.

coyotes in wild

Reproduction

They reproduce once a year, between January and March. Males typically remain with their family group for the first year, and often even longer, while females will rarely leave once they hit maturity. The average litter size of coyotes is four to six pups, which are born blind, deaf and without fur for about three weeks. During this time period, coyotes rely on vocalizations such as yelping or barking to communicate and ward off predators. By six months old, the pups will begin learning hunting skills from their parents. 

Types of coyotes in Delaware?

In Delaware, there are two distinct types of coyotes – the eastern coyote and the northeastern coyote. The eastern coyote is the larger of the two, with longer fur and a heavier, more solid body. They have thicker tawny coats and lighter facial masks than their northeastern counterparts who are smaller and have shorter fur that is either grey or tan in colour with blackish-brown highlights. 

Can you shoot coyotes in Delaware?

In Delaware, coyotes can be hunted or trapped with a license under the state’s Wildlife Ambush Hunting Program. While this hunting season is set for October to March, coyotes may still be shot outside the designated period. Limits and regulations govern how many coyotes may be taken from each wildlife area and how they must be tagged and reported. Hunters should check with local wildlife officers to ensure they are following the necessary guidelines when shooting coyotes in order to protect both their legal rights and the animals themselves. 

References: 

https://dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/fish-wildlife/hunting/coyotes/#:~:text=While%20Delaware’s%20coyote%20population%20remains,not%20having%20a%20coyote%20population.

https://whyy.org/articles/coyote-population-in-delaware-poised-for-growth-video/

https://wildlifehelp.org/animals/delaware/coyote

https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/delaware-coyotes

Author Profile
Rahul M Suresh

Visiting the Zoo can be an exciting and educational experience for all involved. As a guide, I have the privilege of helping students and visitors alike to appreciate these animals in their natural habitat as well as introducing them to the various aspects of zoo life. I provide detailed information about the individual animals and their habitats, giving visitors an opportunity to understand each one more fully and appreciate them in a more intimate way.

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