Does It Spy Eyes on the Side

Howdy friends! – hope everyone’s enjoying the Valentine’s Day weekend with their special someone’s.  I was just sitting here watching my 3D printer lay down some plastic when it occurred to me I could continue to be mesmerized by the print head moving back and forth along the pattern… or .. wait for it… be productive and crank out another post.  True to a fault, my brain usually comes down on the side of productivity – keeps bringing up the whole “you complain every month you don’t have your posts done” argument causing me to cave faster than it takes Hillary to open her mouth and issue a cackling lie.

Up to this point I’ve been showing you the frail and vulnerable side of Yellowstone National Park.  Today we take a different perspective – the deadly side.
Coyote on the hunt in Yellowstone National Park in May 2013

If you recall in the Yellowstone baby series, there was usually at least one adult keeping a watchful eye on the surroundings.  The Coyote above is a fine example of why they were keeping steadfast alert.  It should not be a surprise to anyone that reads this blog (or knows me personally) that Coyotes are not very popular in my parts of the woods.  We do not have Bears or Wolves in these parts of the Midwest which puts the Coyote at the top of the wildlife predator list.  This results in humans having to keep them in check or there wouldn’t be any bunnies or squirrels for counties.

Coyote on the hunt in Yellowstone National Park in May 2013

Hit the jump to see a couple more shots of this Coyote located out in Montana.

Out in Yellowstone, these skilled hunters  take a backseat to the big boys – that being their Canis brethren  the Wolf, and their nemesis the Bear.  They are still a killing machine (much like cats!) that are cunning and formidable in their loose pack structure.  Whenever we come upon Coyotes out there, the excitement goes up at the thought it is a Wolf, but soon the reasoning takes over and the thinner muzzle well defined ears and tail differences lead us to the proper identification.  They are still fun to photograph when they are out on the prowl.

Coyote on the hunt in Yellowstone National Park in May 2013

This particular one was scanning the fields for something interesting – guessing checking out the Yellowstone menu.   The one seen here one was hunting solo that afternoon.  It would probably be a good bet it could call in reinforcements if it found something that needed a little more muscle or needed help distracting the guardians while he carved out the weak.  Everything has to eat and as verified by the pictures – the Coyote’s eyes are facing forward meaning it was born to kill.

Coyote on the hunt in Yellowstone National Park in May 2013

If you recall, there was another Coyote sighting earlier in the trip (link here).  That one looked a little larger than this one, but that might have just been a distance thing – that previous one was super close where this one had to be pulled in with the tele.  We didn’t hang around to find out if it had a successful hunt that afternoon.  The only thing in the area was the Mule Deer from the previous post and the Deer sentries had spotted it and sought safety long before it was in the danger zone.  It is possible the selected item on the menu was more in the Rabbit size that day.

Coyote on the hunt in Yellowstone National Park in May 2013

That’s all I have for you ladies and gentlemen.  I can’t remember if that is all the queued items or not – if so, I’ll get back to the clearing house posts.  Now back to watching my printer!

2 thoughts on “Does It Spy Eyes on the Side”

  1. “the Coyote’s eyes are facing forward meaning it was born to kill”–what, is that some kind of law of nature? I’ve never heard of that. So you are an alpha predator if your eyes face forward, but otherwise you’re prey when your eyes are more to the side to be every watchful? Interesting, I’ve never thought about it. Sounds about right, but I don’t know. Maybe it’s just animals that run fast (like me!) so they have to have their eyes forward. I say that because don’t animals like Gazelles have their eyes forward, or are they somewhat back.

    Anyway, I do have photos of Coyotes since they prowl around here. Eastern Coyotes, according to Wikipedia, so maybe these in your photos are different, being western ones.

    I just looked it up:

    ==================
    By the early 1900s, people had wiped out nearly all the eastern wolves through hunting, trapping, and clear-cutting forest habitat. No more wolves meant no more fierce enemies for coyotes, so western coyotes successfully branched out toward the east to claim new territories. A few wolves survived in the Great Lakes region. Lonely and isolated, these wolves bred with the coyote newcomers, and the coyote-wolf hybrid—also known as the eastern coyote or coywolf—was born.

    According to Roland Kays, who directs the Biodiversity Lab at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, interbreeding between eastern wolves and western coyotes probably helped the new hybrid coyotes adapt to going after the prey that is easily available in the east. “The wolves passed on characteristics that made these coyotes slightly bigger,” Kays says. “That also resulted in wider skulls, which we think allows them to have a stronger jaw that can handle larger prey, such as deer.”
    ==========

    Coyote brains, wolf brawn, I think our Eastern ones put these Western ones to shame.

    Ron

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  2. You need to get outside more – eyes on the side are food for the eyes forward. Evolution give the prey a fighting chance with greater degree of vision. And yes, I am alpha predator .. mainly due to eyes forward, greater grey matter and of course opposable thumbs – telling you, Raccoons are one step away from owning us.

    Not sure about the Eastern Coyotes really being bigger bad asses than the Western – The Western residents have to defend themselves with the top echelon Wolves that roam their grounds. I will also say, I usually see the Western ones hunting solo or maybe in groups in two – the Eastern pansies travel in large groups of 4+ around here. Thanks for the reference block – I honestly didn’t know there was a difference between the regions – another interesting tidbit to add to my knowledge box – thnx

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