2015-06-03 / Features

Coyotes Are Coming To Queens

By Scott Lakeram

The eastern coyote has stirred up quite a buzz in New York these past couple of months. The most recent sighting and capture was in Middle Village, as reported in the Gazette. Coyotes have been migrating down from Westchester and upstate.
Looking similar to the German shepherd, the eastern coyote has longer, thicker fur, bushier tails and larger ears. Around four to five feet in length from tail to nose and weighing about 35 to 45 pounds, they vary in color from a blonde underside to a brown and blackish top-coat. Using genetic analysis, researchers have found that the eastern coyote are 64 percent western coyote, 24 percent wolf and10 percent domestic dog.
Once limited to the Midwest prairies and Southwest, the coyote is now found from the Panama Canal to Canada and coast to coast. They inhabit numerous biomes making them very adaptable creatures. The coyote was not established in New York until the late 1930s. Due to urbanization they had been pushed out of New York City and Long Island, forcing them to claim territory only upstate. However during the 1990s coyotes have been slowly reclaiming lost land. They have now successfully recolonized parts of the Bronx and are moving south toward Manhattan and Queens.
Fully-grown cubs are kicked out by their mothers and venture toward New York City, seeking new territory to claim.
Although coyotes are afraid of people, it is best to keep your distance. They are known to carry rabies and will bite a human if infected.
Classified as carnivores, coyotes are more opportunistic omnivores. Their diet includes a wide variety of animal and plant material and varies from season to season. Coyotes hunt and capture their meals, however they will also go scouring through someone’s trash to find a meal.

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