Tag Archives: coywolf

The lecture on Coywolves last night.

The City of Gloucester Animal Advisory Committee hosted an informative presentation on the Coywolf last night at The Cultural Center at Rocky Neck. Dr. Jonathan Way who is an expert on the habits of the Coywolf spoke for 90 minutes with a lively question and answer period which had to be cut off so we could go to work today.

As a real review, I’ll do that later since there is a lot to unpack. Jon said up front to hold your questions to the end but I knew I was not the only one busting a gut holding back my questions on such a fascinating topic. For now, I will just list a few take-home bullet points of things that were news to me.

• The coywolf is relatively new to the area but it is not an invader, not an invasive species. No one parachuted these coywolves into the east. They migrated naturally from the west to fill the niche vacated by the exterminated wolves. (Blame that on the pilgrims.) If coywolves are an invasive species then virtually every mammal on the planet including man is an invasive species.

• The coywolf wants to have nothing to do with humans. They also want nothing to do with dogs. They fear both. If you think they are stalking you and your dog it is likely because they perceive you as a threat to their puppies and are tracking you to make sure you are heading away from their puppies. Once you have moved far enough away, they will double back to protect the den.

• This bullet point was a shock: Given the size of Cape Ann it is likely that there is one pack on the island. WTF? How can that be? Coywolves cover a lot of territory each night. More on this later.

• Evidence shows that killing an adult in a pack can easily make the pack split and double in size. So shooting one might not be the wisest policy unless you want more coywolves.

•This last bullet point is the biggest. Do not feed the coywolves. There are plenty of mice, rabbits, voles, bugs, to eat. If you think you are helping them you are dead wrong. You are habituating the coywolf to humans and they will likely become a nuisance and have to be shot. Just don’t do it. Do not leave dog food outside. Make sure your bird feeders are not feeding them, don’t leave garbage out.

•• If you know a neighbor who is feeding them. Report them to the police, to the animal control officer, shame them on “Because Gloucester” Facebook page. Make sure they stop.

•• If you see a photographer who wants a photo of a coywolf putting food out to attract them, report them. Bang pots, make them stop. Shaming on “Because Gloucester” as a last resort.

A science observation: Jon described mitochondrial sequencing, Y chromosome sequencing, using SNP panels, all to figure out what is going on with this animal. From these data it is shown that our local coywolf is 30% wolf, 10% domestic dog, and 60% coyote. The cool thing is that whole-genome sequencing of these animals is right around the corner. That is what I do in my day job. Just five years ago I spent $15,000 to sequence one human genome. I can do it today for $1,200. Still a little pricey but that number will continue to drop and we will know a lot more as to how these animals are evolving. Because they are evolving. Each year, traits are selected for. If this new animal can avoid cars, mate successfully, know how to opportunistically hunt new types of food (coywolves are very good at eating what is available, rabbits, voles, cats), they give birth to smarter animals who fill the niche better. A coywolf who is hit by a car, cannot find a mate, or cannot find food, will not be passing on their genes. We are witnessing Darwinian evolution in real time. These animals are no longer coyotes. They have different behavioral patterns and phenotypes. They are not wolves either and they sure are not domestic dogs. They are a new species, canis oriens, which has stabilized. It is not comingling with actual coyotes, wolves or dogs, they treat all three as threats.

Shoot, I was going to keep this one short. So here is a picture of some coywolves that will be giving birth on Cape Ann around the beginning of April.

[Additional edit 2/28] I have received a bunch of email and messages about the number of packs on Cape Ann. My response and likely Jon’s response: No idea. Anecdotal evidence is dicey. The same three coywolves could walk the perimeter of their terrain every evening and every morning through the same 23 backyards. Would that be reported as 23 packs? An exaggeration for sure but they do lay out tracks that are many miles long. They are looking for something to eat, avoiding people and dogs, but also marking their pack domain to ward off other coywolves. Since Cape Ann is an island with only three leaks (coywolves love to walk the tracks) the pack size might be peculiar. The only way to find out is putting a radio collar on a couple of them. Except Mass Wildlife will not allow that. (long story.)

Is there one pack? Two? Has one coywolf been killed so the pack breaks into two and multiples? No way of knowing without data. From Jon’s experience of pack size on Cape Cod, there may be only one pack. But Cape Ann is known to be the more awesome Cape so Cape Cod data might be irrelevant here. 🙂

Go to this website here to find out why Jon has suggested a new name, canis oriens, for the animal that is living with us on Cape Ann.

Lisa Day-Copeland Synopsis of the Public Coyote Meeting Last Night

Lisa posted this on Facebook this morning and I thought it was a decent synopsis of the coyote meeting last night. Rubber Duck added the photo of Coywolf puppies.

Coywolf's have puppies in February and March. They are cute but do not go near them! If you remove their fear of humans they will geet in trouble.

Coywolf’s have puppies in February and March. They are cute but do not go near them! If you remove their fear of humans they will get in trouble.

I (Lisa Day-Copeland) went to the Gloucester coyote forum tonight with Jodi Swenson and Roland Leger. I think the presenters did a good job of teaching people about coyotes, that they have many useful functions and are here to stay (replaced wolves after they were killed off). Most weigh only 30 – 45 pounds and are far less dangerous than dogs in terms of aggressive behavior (and I love dogs!) They taught us to make noise and wave our arms, even toss something small at them or wave a stick. Don’t feed them. It is good for them to be afraid of humans. Also cover your trash and hiding spaces (I’ve got to block that space under my shed!) Lots of really bright people got in line to make comments or ask good questions…science students, wildlife specialists. Someone from Project Coyote came to see the presentation…perhaps he’ll be back at some point to further educate the public.

Chickity Check It!- Kristy Asaro’s Coyote Photos From Her Parents’ Back Porch In East #GloucesterMA

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Check Out Way More Photos Of The Coyote Up Close And Personal (Click On The Photos On Her Site For The Larger Sized Versions)and Subscribe to Kristy’s Blog Here- http://www.imaginekristy.com/w2/coyote/

After Watching The Meet The Coywolf Videos I Got Myself This…

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Simple keychain whistle.  Seeing as if you’re living on the North Shore you’ll be living with Coywolf, I figured why not?  Cheap. 

The experts on the PBS “Meet The Coywolf” program suggested that if you encounter Coywolf in your yard, you ought to haze them and make them feel uncomfortable. 

You can get them on Amazon for like next to nothing.

Diabolical New Coyote Defense Technique For Deer

Adapt or Die Baby.  Flat Out One Of The Most Brilliant Defense Mechanisms On Display I’ve Ever Seen.

I don’t care how hungry that coyote is that’s creeping up on the deer.  Deer lets one rip like this and the pack of coyotes are like “We out man.  I don’t want any part of that stank ass!”  Diabolical!!!

I’m guessing that was a three day old chili fart.  Had to be right?  I just hope the deer had some toilet paper laying around so it could do a wipe check.  Don’t want any poop remnants that might have snuck out making your deer butt all stanky.  Gotta at least give it one or two test wipes to make sure it’s all clear back there.

That deer in West Gloucester that got surrounded by the coyotes last year could have learned a thing or two from farting deer.  Would have saved itself a whole lot of time and aggravation during the standoff.  Shoulda just let one rip and that pack of coyote would have high tailed it back to Canada STAT!

BTW this post is for new subscriber Bill.

Tonight is “Meet The Coywolf” 8PM on PBS

Meet The Coywolf on PBS Tonight at 8 PM.  Find out where all that howling at the moon on Cape Ann is coming from.

sixweekcoywolf

Six Week Old Coywolf.

The coywolf, a mixture of western coyote and eastern wolf, is a remarkable new hybrid carnivore that is taking over territories once roamed by wolves and slipping unnoticed into our cities. Its appearance is very recent — within the last 90 years — in evolutionary terms, a blip in time. Beginning in Canada but by no means ending there, the story of how it came to be is an extraordinary tale of how quickly adaptation and evolution can occur, especially when humans interfere. Tag along as scientists study this new top predator, tracking it from the wilderness of Ontario’s Algonquin Park, through parking lots, alleys and backyards in Toronto all the way to the streets of New York City. -PBS

In 56 minutes I doubt they will even scratch the surface of the interesting parts. If they say “evolution” more than twice, “mitochondrial DNA sequencing” even once, I will eat my lab coat. But it is the Nature show on PBS and they might be even handed about the subject and they might even spice it up with some real science from real scientists instead of “scientists say …”

[edit] Looking for coywolf cameltoe to toughen up this post and there is no Rubber Duck at all. She has locked herself in her room crying.

CryingRubberDuck

Weird?

2 Days Until “Meet The Coywolf” on PBS

Meet The Coywolf on PBS This Wednesday, January 22, at 8.00 PM.  Find out where all that howling at the moon on Cape Ann is coming from.

sixweekcoywolf

Six Week Old Coywolf.

The coywolf, a mixture of western coyote and eastern wolf, is a remarkable new hybrid carnivore that is taking over territories once roamed by wolves and slipping unnoticed into our cities. Its appearance is very recent — within the last 90 years — in evolutionary terms, a blip in time. Beginning in Canada but by no means ending there, the story of how it came to be is an extraordinary tale of how quickly adaptation and evolution can occur, especially when humans interfere. Tag along as scientists study this new top predator, tracking it from the wilderness of Ontario’s Algonquin Park, through parking lots, alleys and backyards in Toronto all the way to the streets of New York City. -PBS

2013 “WolfStock” This Sunday 2-6 PM at Wolf Hollow

Feels like fall. Must be time to head to Ipswich and right after the turn-off to Crane’s beach, turn into 114 Essex Road (click for directions) to find yourself at Wolf Hollow this Sunday from 2-6 PM. Why? Because there will be wolves of course. And activities for your kids, food from the vendors, and beer from the Mercury Brewing Tap Mobile. Almost forgot, the Reggae Band Jah Spirit will be playing because after all it’s the 2013 Annual Reggae Fund Raiser at Wolf Hollow.

You scratch my neck, I lick your face.

You scratch my neck, I lick your face.

This is Nina and Jamie-Lynne Mezzetti (Nina is on the left), getting some neck scratches and licks traded back in January, photo by Zee Soffron. You may not get this close to a wolf on Sunday but they might howl for you. Wolves love reggae.

Until December 1st you can visit every Saturday and Sunday. Formal presentation of the wolves is at 1:30 PM so aim to get there by 1 PM. After December 1, Sunday only, weather permitting. (But this Sunday, remember, 2-6 PM.)

Here is a shot that Rubber Duck took last fall during a presentation:2wolfCheck out the size of those paws! Checking out the paw is an easy way of distinguishing Wolf from coyote or domestic dog. A wolf has some big ones. The next time you see tracks in the snow or mud on Cape Ann, measure the size of the paw. Was it a coyote, a coywolf, or a wolfote? Likely they will be a tad smaller than these paws.

Wolf Hollow Web Site or follow them on Facebook where there are more awesome photos of Wolf Hollow wolves.

Coywolf Stalking Me

coywolf on Eastern Point

The other morning I went for a walk out Eastern Point.  I had my awesome new/used camera that Paul Frontiero gave me and decided to walk around Niles Pond and see if the turtles were basking on the rocks.  As I rounded the corner on Niles Pond Road, there in the middle of the road stood a coywolf.  We stared at each other for a few seconds and I slowly started to raise my camera, at which point he bolted into the woods.  I started to follow but then thought better of it and headed back to Eastern Point Road, looking over my shoulder every now and then to make sure he wasn’t following me.  I walked a little further up Eastern Point and decided to go up Fort Hill Road, which I’d never walked before.  As I started up, there again was the coywolf staring at me.  This time he was further away so I raised my camera, zoomed in on him and quickly grabbed a shot before he disappeared again.  Zoomed too much and too fast, so a little blurry.

I think he probably thought I was stalking him as much as I thought he was stalking me.  First I’ve seen one, so it was exciting, but a little unnerving.

E.J. Lefavour

Don’t Be Shocked But That is a Wolf at Your Door.

Everyone knows that coyotes have moved onto Cape Ann and Cape Cod but did you know they are actually a new hybrid with the eastern wolf? The DNA typing of this new species is just in its infancy. Mostly using mitochondrial DNA to get a rough understanding but now that genomic sequencing is much cheaper a more detailed picture is forming. Some coyotes trapped have come up as 90% eastern wolf DNA! These hybrids, I’ll call them coywolf from now on, are bigger than coyotes. They are very sociable, live in family packs and can have a range of ten square miles. That is a decent chunk of Cape Ann. I would guess though if the food is plentiful they would hang in one region near their den.

Should you be fearful of these coywolves? You shouldn’t. In fact we should be happy they are here. They fill the niche that the wolf filled here for centuries and now she is back. They eat deer, mice, rabbits, all those small animals. The deer and mice are key. Lyme disease has a life cycle that explodes when deer and mice populations increase. Knocking down both of these populations will keep Lyme disease in check.

wolfie
Yes, the coywolves will eat your cat but your cat should not be out there anyway. Feral and outdoor cats eat more than 3 billion birds in the US annually. You can’t blame them. They have been trained to do this since ancient egyptian times protecting granaries from vermin. They don’t even eat them just killing one bird after another. Keep your cat inside and let these coywolves keep the population of Lyme disease plagued vermin like deer and mice down to tolerable levels. They are a perfect fit for Cape Ann. They don’t like to eat birds. And if you find a dead coywolf I need just a very small blood sample to run a genetic haplotype test to see how much of a wolf she was. But please do not hunt them. They are doing us all a big favor. Imagine going for a hike in Dogtown and having no fear of being covered by disease ridden deer ticks. If you’ve had Lyme disease you should kiss a wolf on the lips for moving into your neighborhood. They might even take out a fishercat or two.

If the genetic testing of the coywolves on Cape Ann come up as over 80% wolf DNA we can drop the hybrid coywolf name. That is a wolf.

[3/26/13 edit] Lots of great comments on this article. For some local information on wolves go to Wolf Hollow in Ipswich:

http://www.wolfhollowipswich.org/