It is estimated that 20,000 coyotes live in Pennsylvania today. A hundred years ago there were none.

Story in the Pocano Record.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

10 Responses to Elusive and adaptable, coyotes thrive in Pa.

  1. avatar Pronghorn says:

    Favorite coyote quote:

    It is my personal belief that when the last human has fallen, and the last skull lies on the irradiated earth, a coyote will come trotting out of some safe place. Don’t ask me where he’ll come from; but I believe that he will survive as he has always survived. The coyote will trot in his furtive, skulking manner, to the skull. He will approach it carefully with the caution borne of millenia of avoiding steel traps and snares and pitfall. He will cautiously sniff it. His educated nose will tell him that he no longer has anything to fear from the bleached remnant of a once great civilization. Taking a few short steps to get in the exact position, he will lift his leg.

    Charles L. Cadieux
    Coyotes: Predators and Survivors

    This and much more at http://www.coyoterescue.org/

  2. avatar JEFF E says:

    Along with rats and cockroaches. :*)

  3. avatar Robert Hoskins says:

    A planet dominated by the Great Trickster; that would make for a great futuristic novel.

  4. avatar Chris Sonderegger says:

    Just got done reading the June 6 entry on coyotes in an exclusive Arizona neighborhood. I work for a major hotel company and one of our resorts sits at the base of Mummy Mountain in Scottsdale. I was there in January, and I thoroughly enjoyed sitting out on my patio at sunset, sipping a marguerita and listening to the coyotes yip and call back and forth across to their neighbors, friends and relatives on Camelback Mountain, about a mile away. Even more, I enjoyed it when one of the staff asked me how my night was and I told them about the margueritas and coyotes.

    “You must have had 1 too many margueritas – coyotes only live in the desert,” was his response. Ha! Ha! Ha!

  5. avatar elkhunter says:

    There has always been coyotes in PA. The eastern coyote.

  6. avatar JEFF E says:

    Robert Hoskins,
    Re. your comment of 18june2007@4:20pm.
    Did you read this ^? Unbelievable.

  7. avatar Eric says:

    Pronghorn,
    Awesome quote! I have to get that book. By the way I just saw 4 coyotes tonight. They were aware of me jogging through a park by a channel which connects to the Chicago River. Oh boy, can they move. It’s fun to see. A few of them were waiting to see what I was all about and since I stopped to check them out they weren’t waiting long.

  8. avatar Eric says:

    Actually, I’m a little unsure these were coyotes. They had the coloration and size of foxes. I wasn’t wearing my glasses. They sure acted like coyotes. I saw darkness on the tails and feet and they were pretty small, maybe 2 and a half feet long. I’ve never seen a group of foxes though.

  9. avatar Howard says:

    In regards to the above comment about coyotes always existing in Pennsylvania, there is quite a bit of debate about the origins of the eastern coyote. There are those who do believe, as elkhunter said, that coyotes have always existed in the East, albeit in far fewer numbers in the days before wolf eradication and the clearing of old growth forest. However, this is the minority viewpoint among scientists, most of whom hold that coyotes only began appearing in the East in the 20th century, after larger predators were extirpated. Most of the real debate about the eastern coyote concerns its genetic makeup…how much is pure coyote and how much gray wolf/red wolf/Eastern wolf is in the mix. It’s likely that different eastern coyote populations have different proportions of wolf genes, and genes from different wolf species. I believe that the general consensus (and maybe this has been scientifically demonstrated with genetic tests…I honestly don’t know the most up to date status of this) is that at least in the northern regions of the East, the eastern coyote is most definitely carrying wolf genes. The coyote has an incredible penchant for range expansion, as the species now inhabits most of Alaska and has migrated down Central America to Panama (sea turtle researchers and conservationists note this fact with much consternation, as the nests and hatchlings of imperiled sea turtle species now have coyotes as predators in addition to coatimundis, raccoons, black vultures, humans, etc.). I believe eastern coyotes first showed up in Northeast states, and probably came into the East via Ontario, rather than across the Mississippi. As the coyotes ventured into what had now become the southern limit of wolf range, “desperate” lone wolves unable to find conspecifics would have accepted coyotes as mating partners. Coyotes also undoubtably picked up wolf genes in Texas and Louisiana where the last red wolves faced the same situation. Under normal circumstances, wolves do not mate with coyotes… in Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario the small Eastern wolves (Canis lycaon) exclude coyotes from most of the Park. Interestingly, there is a second canid in Pennsylvania whose origins are a bit fuzzy…the red fox. Red foxes definitely naturally inhabited North America at the time of European colonization, but the eastern extent of their range is uncertain and debatable. Unlike the coyote, I believe most or all authorities maintain that red foxes naturally occurred east of the Mississippi, though some maintain that this species was not present beyond the Midwest and east-central states, and was wholly replaced by the gray fox in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. This confusion is greatly compounded by the fact that British colonists imported red foxes from the UK for fox hunting (the then common gray fox can climb trees, and was evidently frustrating to hunt on horseback with hounds). Again, some people claim that red foxes were imported to New England because there were none there to hunt; others maintain that red foxes existed, but in numbers too small for hunt enthusiasts who saw the need to augment the population. In addition to British foxes brought into the East Coast, more westerly populations of native red foxes expanded eastward as farms and “woods” replaced the old growth forests. If red foxes were NOT found in the far East, it is likely that Pennsylvania marked the eastern edge of their historic range in North America. Hundreds of Native American middens have been found in Pennsylvania, and while the bones of gray foxes are very common at these sites, there are few or no remains of red foxes.

  10. avatar G-dog says:

    I live in Philadelphia and I can tell you there are red fox that live in city parks .I’ve seen them crossing streets and as road kill. Never seen a coyote in the city .That doesn’t mean they are not there . I live near Fairmont park in philly and there are a lot of deer living right in the city . They have to cull them at like 100 at a time . That would be a lot of food for a city coyote !!!!

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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