The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, April 23, 1999


Do You Have Any Coyotes in Your Neighborhood?

If you've seen coyotes in Carlisle (or any other interesting wildlife), please share the details with the Wildlife Inventory Project.

The inventory project was begun this spring, and with only a small amount of data collected so far, there are reports of coyotes seen in places scattered around town, including Ember Lane, Woodbine Road, Litchfield Drive, and Russell Street. When did coyotes first appear in Carlisle? The sitings submitted so far only extend back to 1996. Has anyone seen coyotes in a pack? Has anyone discovered a den with pups in town?

Coyotes' coats are gray and tan, with dark guard hairs, and the animals can be mistaken for dogs or wolves. If you think you might have spotted a coyote, check the ears, size, tail, and vocalization. The ears of a coyote are largemuch larger and more pointed than a wolf's. Adult coyotes range in weight from 15 for a small female to 44 pounds for a large male, which is larger than a fox and smaller than most German shepherd dogs or wolves. When a coyote runs, it holds its black-tipped tail low and pointing straight toward the ground, while a wolf holds its tail more like a dog might, with a gentle curve upward near the end.

Another distinguishing feature is the coyote's call. The name coyote comes from the Aztec coyotl, or "singing dog," and its Latin name is canis latrans, or "barking dog." While a wolf's night cry is a howl, a coyote's cry starts with a series of yips or yelps, and then ends with a long howl.

Originally, the coyote was found in the American southwest, but its range has expanded tremendously during this century. Nature's Children: Coyote, by Caroline Greenland, published in 1985, showed the coyote range extending east only as far as the Appalachian Mountains. Coyotes, by Cherie Winner, printed ten years later, showed the coyote range extending to the Atlantic Ocean, and including all of New England. Coyotes are now found as far north as Alaska, and as far south as Costa Rica.

Coyotes eat a varied diet, including mammals, small carrion and insects. When in large packs, coyotes will successfully hunt deer. They have also been observed to eat fish, fruit, grass and acorns. They are active at night, and are most often observed during the early morning or late afternoon.

Coyotes usually mate during late winter, and pups are born two months later, with an average litter size of about six pups. Coyotes stay with their mates for several years and can live 10 to 13 years. In some areas, coyotes live mostly singly or in pairs, while in other regions coyotes live in packs. Large packs may contain up to a dozen adults, but will include only one breeding pair.

To describe a wildlife observation, please include the species name, location and date of sighting, number seen if possible, and observer name(s). (Approximate date and location are O.K.) Please send data to: Wildlife Inventory, 21 Patten Lane; or send via email to

Carlisle Wildlife Inventory Record

Species: __________________________

Location: _________________________

Date: _____________

#Seen: ___________

Observer(s): _______________________

Remarks: _________________________

Please send to Wildlife Inventory, 21 Patten Lane or email to

1999 The Carlisle Mosquito