Thursday, February 3, 2011


Though the coyote was not native to Newfoundland, it has established a presence for at least 20 years. It will probably here for the long run.  There has been ongoing discussion about the relative safety of coyotes when near people.  However, most of the focus has been with the increased numbers and the impact on moose and caribou populations. 

We shouldn't be really surprised. Coyote-like canines have roamed North America for about 40 million years, moving throughout the continent and onto Europe. They find new places to thrive. Newfoundland has been an open territory since about 1911, when the last Newfoundland Wolf (canis lupus beothucus) was spotted. The species is extinct.

Like wolves, coyotes are highly social and have a complex system of communication - allowing them to be excellent group hunters.  There is a theory that the relationship between humans and dogs was made possible by the social skills of early wolves. They could tolerate human beings!

For the most part coyotes stay away from humans. However, they are quick learners and notice our behaviour - such as leaving family pets outside and unattended.  At 25-40 pounds and nearly five feet in length, they are big animals.  Give them their space.

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