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Friday, July 20, 2012

Eastern coyote summer coat?

I normally do not bait my camera trap sets, but this week my wife taught a class on cardiac health that culminated in pig heart dissections. Since the class was held at the local hospital, it would be unwise to dispose of the hearts on site. Imagine if someone mistook them for human organs in the trash!

I placed the hearts in front of one of our cameras. It didn't take long to attract some of the locals. Raccoons were first on the scene. Here, mom stumbles on a nice meal for her and the little ones.
Raccoon family
(Seneca Falls, NY 7/12)
The next coon to show up really struck a pose!
Daytime raccoon
(Seneca Falls, NY 7/12)
This next photo was taken hours later, but may be the same raccoon:

At around 4am, two coyotes showed up. They looked very different from each other. One has a nice thick coat while the other is a bit thinner. Here they are:
Eastern coyote in July
(Seneca Falls, NY 7/12)
Eastern coyote with thin coat
(Seneca Falls, NY 7/12)
Why the difference? Well, I think I have two healthy coyotes here but one is a juvenile. That would account for the thinner coat. Let's call this an educated guess rather than wild speculation or fact. I have people that tell me all the time that these thin coyotes (and foxes for that matter) have mange. But I am not buying it. Chime in if you have more experience than I do, but until then I am sticking with my juvy theory...

Below is an attempt to turn a powerpoint slide into a jpeg for easier viewing. These two photos were taken four minutes apart. What a great comparison!
Eastern coyote
(Seneca Falls, NY 7/12)


  1. Awesome pics....that first coyote is a very nice specimen!

    Like you said, this doesn't look like mange on 'yote number two to me at all either.

    I'm going with summer coat. Could be a juvie, although it's about as big (proportionally) as the other 'yote in that side-by-side comparison.

    Thing is...don't know why that other individual still has remnants of his winter coat in July? Don't know if it's been as hot over by you as by us...but it's been hot and dry here this summer. All the 'yotes round here look scrawny now, like the one in your second photo.

    1. Ahhh so I missed the question entirely. The oddball is the one with the thick coat.... :)

    2. Ha! :) Nah, man...your original question was great. But, as an over-weight individual of scandinavian descent, who sweats his butt off during summer field work, I'm sensitive to things looking uncomfortable in the heat. So when I see a critter with a thick coat in the middle of summer, I think: "why not shed that coat and be cooler!" :)

  2. From my experiences working at the vets and humane society, I don't think they have mange either. You would most likely see bald or very very thin patches all over. But then again, there are different types of mange...

  3. I agree - that's not mange. Mange mites live in patches and thus the hair and skin is affected in patches. They also scratch so much with it, that they get sores and swelling. Here's a pic on my flickr of a female coyote with mange for reference.

    So, I'd say you're spot on with the juvie idea. I might even go further - based on features and size, I'd say those two yotes are related. Or, do all your coyotes have a similar look to them?


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