A Coyote scavenging along the river bank – Yellowstone 2019

As we explored the Madison River, in Yellowstone National Park, we came across this Coyote. It had clearly smelt something it fancied. It dug deep into the snow on the river bank before pulling out a juicy morsel which it ate with great speed. But what was it? After enjoying its meal, the Coyote rolled around in the snow to clean its whiskers – but was not very successful!

The Coyote (Canis latrans) roams widely acroos Yellowstone National Park. They weigh 11-16kg and stand 40-51cm at the shoulder and are about one third the size of a wolf. The upper parts of the pelt varies from grayish brown to yellowish-gray. The throat and belly are either bluff or white whilst their forelegs and muzzles are reddish-brown. These highly adaptable canids use a wide range of habitats. The primarily eat voles, mice, rabbits and other small animals. Their acute hearing allows them to locate their prey under snow and, like foxes, have mastered the art of punching through the snow layer with their forelegs to reach the prey. They also have a very good sense of small as demonstrated by this Coyote.

When Wolves were hunted to extinction in Yellowstone National Park, the population of Coyotes flourished. The re-introduction of the wolf into the Park caused a fall in the Coyote population. Coyotes avoid areas with Wolves.