Canis Latrans. Half way between a fox and wolf
You hear them a lot more often than
you see them. Howls at night, barks, and yelps can precede sightings
in the spring and fall. Humans have carried an irrational fear
of Coyotes (and the much larger wolves) for a long time. Coyotes
average 2 feet in height and 3 feet in length and weigh in at
20 to 70 pounds. They prey on small animals and are valuable at
keeping mice populations in check. Occasionally packs have been
known to bring down sheep and deer, particularly the smaller and
slower offspring. Most often the animals hunt alone (or pairs)
but can form hunting packs when needed. It is not understood why
berries and vegetation are part of their diet.
Coyotes like valley
bottoms and open forest or grassy areas.
Coyotes resemble a medium sized dog with gray
fur, tinted reddish and white. The tail is long and bushy usually
with a black tip. Like a dog it will run with its tail between
its legs when frightened.
When running quickly the hind paws (smaller) will
land in front of the tracks laid down by the front paws.
You are most likely to spot
Coyotes near townsites, secondary roads such as Maligne Lake
Road, Tunnel Mtn, Pyramid Lake and Lake Minnewanka. They can
be seen from the main highways such as the Bow Valley Expressway,
Highway 16 near Jasper and the Icefields Parkway. Coyotes will
"hang around" campgrounds in search of easy food but
they avoid humans. As with most wildlife they are much more
frequent in Jasper Park than Banff Park.
Coyotes are more adventurous, curious and are
somewhat less fearful of humans than their bigger cousins, the