Maryland is now home to a growing population of coyotes. These wild creatures, also known as “brush wolves,” were originally found in the western and southwestern parts of the United States but have since journeyed east and now roam a variety of habitats across Maryland.
Often mistaken for other canines such as domestic dogs, they project a distinct eerie sound that is unmistakable in its richness and depth. These intelligent predators have adapted to survive alongside humans, sometimes hunting small animals including pets.
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Coyotes are quite successful in the state of Maryland, having adapted to a wide range of habitats. They can be found in both urban and rural areas, including dense woods, farmland, abandoned fields, wetlands and coastal areas. These creatures demonstrate incredible intelligence when it comes to habitat selection, taking advantage of their environment while modifying certain aspects to better suit their needs. Coyotes often live and hunt alone or in small groups. In the wintertime, they may share large dens and during the summer months search for den sites among dense vegetation or rocky outcrops.
Maryland coyotes are opportunistic eaters, feasting on small mammals, reptiles and birds as well as fruits, insects and other plant matter. Coyotes often scavenge for carrion and even venture into urban areas to look for food from garbage cans and dumpsters. Human-created habitats such as roadsides, parking lots, parks and golf courses provide plenty of prey for coyotes in Maryland.
White-tailed deer is a particularly favoured food for local coyotes who tend to prefer hunting in the night hours right after sunset. Studies have also shown that these intelligent omnivores adjust their diets seasonally depending on what food they can access when they need it most during winter time or pregnancy.
Coyotes may often blend into their environments, and the wide variety of coyotes’ coats allow them to stand out in a sea of monochrome. The colour of these animals may range from a soft grey or tan to shades such as yellow-brown, white and black. These variations are created due to various factors, including the animal’s age, nutrition and genetic makeup. In addition, mating season causes colour changes in certain parts of their bodies while others remain the same. No two coyotes look alike.
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.
Various animals hunt coyotes and contribute to the control of their populations. Known predators of coyotes in Maryland include larger mammalian predators like bears, wolves, tigers, and lions—which are obviously not native to the state. Most commonly though, grey wolves and bobcats can be found preying on coyotes. Hawks and eagles may also take advantage of smaller or injured coyotes caught out in open grasslands.
Maryland is a hotspot for coyote activity, and its population has plenty of opportunity to reproduce due to the warm environment and plenty of food sources. Coyotes most often reproduce in the spring, when females are at their peak fertility rate. During this time, they build dens in sparsely populated areas such as dense shrubbery and forestation so they can remain relatively hidden while protecting their pups from weather conditions and natural predators. Gestation periods last between 63 to 65 days before the female gives birth to four to seven cubs that she will nurture until independence at about three months of age.
Hunting Coyotes in Maryland
Hunting coyotes in southern Maryland is gaining popularity as more people recognize the benefit of thinning coyote populations. Through careful management, hunters are helping to protect fragile ecosystems and local livestock from coyotes’ ravaging hunger. It’s an activity that requires skill, patience, and a dedication to conservation, making it perfect for the adventurous outdoorsman or woman. Hunting coyotes provide a unique experience with both its rewards and dangers, enabling those who participate to connect with nature in ways not possible through other activities.
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.