Coyotes (Canis latrans) are frequently seen, and even more frequently heard, throughout Clark County Wetlands Park. Usually they appear silently from cover in the early morning and evening.
One morning I was checking the paved loop trail in the Nature Preserve near the Upper Pond when I heard several sharp barks. When I stopped to look for the source, the barks were repeated.
After several minutes I spotted a mother coyote just ahead of me at the side of the trail, looking straight at me and barking. As I watched, her four pups crossed the trail to her. Once she had them under control, she stopped barking and all of them slipped silently out of sight.
A pair of coyotes produces one litter, averaging seven pups, each year. Both parents are involved in feeding and raising their family.
The pups I saw looked young – recently out of their underground den – about eight to ten weeks old. I think I interrupted a hunting lesson! -Chris Leavitt; photographer, Donald Gibe