URBAN COYOTE

I really got nothing for Friday Science. There all sorts of commentaries on the science that Bush left out of the State of the Union Address, but I didn’t listen to the speech and I don’t want to blog about it. Blog entries like that tend to attract the crazies. So after searching around, I came up with this. I grew up in a rural Oklahoma town. Across the street from our house was a farm and lots of pasture. It was not an uncommon thing to hear the sad wail of the coyotes on a warm summer night. Now there are houses in that pasture, but are the coyotes still there? Probably.

Urban sprawl is decreasing the habitat for many animals, including the coyote. A research study by Professor Stan Gehrt of Ohio State University shows just how closely the coyote are living to people and adapting to city life. Most of the time people are oblivious to the coyote because they’re hiding in bushes and hunting for food at night. The coyotes can adapt their diet to their surroundings. They don’t eat human leftovers, so it’s not like their foraging in garbage cans and they pretty much stay clear of people. In the 1990s there were about 400 coyote removals over a ten-year period in the Chicago area, mostly for attacking family pets. No human attacks have been reported.

I wonder how long it will take before the coyote becomes domesticated. If people keep feeding their pets outside and feeding wildlife, the coyote is going to start associating that location to dinner. The coyote does a very good job of controlling the rodent and deer populations. But it won’t be too long before we hear some mother screaming in the night “Coyotes ate my baby. Coyotes ate my baby!â€?.