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

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coyotes

Coyotes are becoming increasingly prevalent in Mississippi and other Southern states. Though the coyote had widely been considered an animal of the midwest and western United States, their population has expanded rapidly due to a variety of different factors. For instance, changes in land management and agricultural practices have allowed for habitat expansion and a breakdown of traditional boundaries. 

This has enabled them to move southward from their more northern enclaves, resulting in new encounters between coyotes and humans alike. Coyotes are now regularly spotted across most counties in Mississippi, forming an iconic image of rural Southern life with their unique call echoing through the bayous at night. 

coyotes in mississippi

Habitat

Coyote habitats vary significantly, ranging from wetlands to forests to prairies. Coyotes prefer open spaces such as meadows, farmland and grasslands. They also inhabit national parks, reserves, state parks and hiking trails throughout the state. In addition to roaming freely in the wild, some coyotes will inhabit residential areas near humans if there is an abundance of food available. 

Coyotes in Mississippi are remarkably adaptable creatures that are able to survive in a variety of locales for extended periods of time without much interaction with people. These predators have a natural affinity for wide-open rural landscapes, but their ability to adjust makes them formidable even in city settings. Whether in isolated woodlands or bustling suburbs, coyotes continue to thrive throughout Mississippi’s varied landscapes.

Diet

Coyotes 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 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.

Colour

Mississippi is home to many different species of wildlife, one of which is the coyote. These animals come in a variety of colours from dark brown, black and even rust red. Although they don’t typically live as far south as Mississippi, coyotes can be found all across the state due to their nomadic nature. Their fur colouration helps them blend into their environment and camouflage when hunting or scavenging for food. In Mississippi specifically, you’re more likely to encounter a coyote with either a medium-sized coat of tawny brown or with blondish-red undertones. 

Coyotes in open

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

Coyotes in Mississippi typically find themselves having to look out for a variety of potential predators. One of the most prominent and powerful is the grey wolf, which occasionally makes its way down south into Mississippi. The grey wolf’s presence can turn the coyote’s territory upside down and make it much harder to hunt. Eagles, bears, and bobcats will also consistently pose a threat. Hawks will sometimes swoop down and take away one of their young as well. Though these various predators may seem deadly enough on their own, when they combine forces to hunt the same prey, it can be devastating for Coyotes in Mississippi.

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. 

coyotes in wild

Are there Coyotes in Mississippi

Coyotes are indeed present in the state of Mississippi. Expert hunters have reported sightings in both rural and urban areas with the coyote population has risen in recent years. As predators, coyotes are known for their intelligence and adaptability which has helped them thrive in many different types of environments, even modified ones like those found in the southern United States. 

Hunting Coyotes in Mississippi

Hunting coyotes in Mississippi is a thrilling experience and requires a good deal of skill and know-how. Open fields and forests are full of predators that need to be kept in check, with coyotes being some of the bigger threats to small game. Those who partake in the hunt must be familiar with scouting the land for signs of activity and knowing where their prey roams. It is not uncommon to find yourself tracking them through wetlands or dense brush, so it is critical that one comes prepared with good gear and supplies before they take part in such an adventure. 

coyotes with prey

Shooting Coyotes in Mississippi

Mississippi has recently changed its laws to make shooting coyotes legal. This change has been welcomed in many rural communities and urban areas alike, as coyotes can be very destructive when they trespass onto private property or interact with domestic pets. Although it is legal to shoot coyotes, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks cautions all hunters to exercise caution while pursuing them.

Trapping Coyotes in Mississippi

Trapping coyotes has become a popular practice in Mississippi. The adaptable nature of the species allows them to thrive and flourish in different ecosystems, making it difficult to reduce their population numbers. Recently, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks started implementing controlled trapping programs to help manage the coyote population in the area.

black coyotes

Black Coyotes in Mississippi

This is especially unusual because coyotes are normally sandy or greyish in colour. According to experts, these coyotes may be hybrids, created by breeding between a canine species like a jackal or wolf and a regular coyote. The result is an animal with the likeness of a small wolf, around four feet in length with pitch-black fur. These creatures of the night are elusive and seen only at night when they come out to hunt for food. While they can be found all over Mississippi, they usually reside near agricultural land and woodlands. 

References:

https://extension.msstate.edu/blog/critter-the-month-coyote#:~:text=Coyotes%20are%20abundant%20in%20Mississippi,up%20residence%20in%20your%20area.

http://extension.msstate.edu/news/extension-outdoors/2014/coyotes-are-wily-predators-and-pests

https://www.mdwfp.com/media/3942/nuisance_regs_for_public.pdf

https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/what-do-about-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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